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President Trump Calls for Red Flag Laws in Wake of Mass Shootings

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

In remarks delivered from the White House this morning, President Trump condemned racism, bigotry, and white supremacy following the weekend’s horrific mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

You can watch his full remarks here:

President Trump also said his administration will “seriously look” into dispatching local law enforcement to work with social media companies to better detect mass shooters before they enact horror. He also called for reforms to mental health, including involuntary confinement, quick and decisive capital punishment for hate crime mass shooters, and says he’s going to propose red flag laws that prioritize “rapid due process.”

Red flag laws may sound benign on the surface, but when implemented, generally have the reverse effects. Take, for instance, what happened in Maryland after their red flag law was implemented last fall: an innocent 61-year-old man was killed by police.

Most red flag laws drafted suggest safety for those who are a present danger to themselves and their family members is a priority, but here’s the catch. There’s more emphasis on taking away guns— not so much on addressing mental health of the individuals in question.

An article in Mises Institute notes three problems with extreme risk-protection orders, or “red flag laws” in their current form:

1. Due process rights are put on the chopping block.

Anti-gun family members, friends, or acquaintances can levy dubious accusations to justify the confiscation of law-abiding gun owners’ guns. They can take these accusations to a court of law, even if the individual in question was not charged or convicted of a crime. In turn, due process rights are turned upside down, as gun owners are presumed to be guilty and must then prove their innocence.

2. Indefinite time frames for gun confiscation.

The duration of ERPOs is unclear — which could end up being weeks, months, or even a year. Gun owners would then be forced to go to court multiple times just to win their Constitutional rights back.

3. Red Flag Laws have Bipartisan Support

What makes red flag laws even more dangerous is the bipartisan support they currently boast. It is no secret when both parties come together on legislative matters, nothing good can come out of it.

Political insiders constantly remind us that Republicans are staunch supporters of the Second Amendment. They contend Republicans play a pivotal role in defending our gun rights, and any criticism directed toward them is unjustified.

But nothing could be further from the truth. A Republican governor in Maryland recently signed a red flag bill into law, while Republicans in states like Coloradoand Pennsylvania have actively pushed red flag bills of their own.

President Trump should tread very carefully on red flag laws, especially those authored to prioritize gun confiscation — not address mental health.

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