We are standing Coffin on its head.
You hear people all the time say, “You’re innocent until proven guilty! It’s in the Constitution!”
They are partly correct. You are (supposed to be) innocent until proven guilty but the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” is NOT in the U.S. Constitution. This legal precedent was not established until 1895 in the case of Coffin v. United States.
However, these days we seem more and more hell-bent on throwing the niceties of legal precedents out the window in favor of the emotionally satisfying mob rule. See the Kavanaugh hearings in the U. S. Senate.
Red Flag laws are one such case and are a danger to freedom and due process but hey, since we’re hysterical about the decreasing gun violence in America why stop with just firearms?
Yes, gun violence is decreasing in America despite what you’re being told every day by the “news” media.
Additionally schools are safer now than they have been.
And despite what politicians are so very fond of saying, gun violence DOES happen in other parts of the world and at a greater rate than in the US and with higher lethality.
First, a little background is in order here. Red Flag or ERPO laws (Extreme Risk Protection Orders) are laws that vary from state to state but for the most part they allow a family member or police to petition a court for the immediate removal of any firearms from an individual. Some states allow current and former employers, current and former co-workers, current and former neighbors, current and former roommates, current and former romantic partners and current and former friends to begin this process. If granted, any firearms licenses are revoked and the person’s guns are seized and taken to storage. If the person can then prove they are not dangerous (i.e. their innocence) they may be able to have their property returned to them.
Or they might not be.
The Massachusetts version of ERPO has this little gem hidden in it:
After an ERPO is terminated or expires, a license to possess/carry firearms will not be reinstated and any surrendered items will not be returned unless and until the police department where the Respondent lives determines that the Respondent is suitable to be licensed and to possess or carry firearms. For questions on the suitability process, contact your local police department.
Did you catch that? The ERPO can be terminated or expire but you STILL may not be made whole.
Embrace the suck and mourn the Bill of Rights.
Further, if ones collection of firearms is never returned does the government pay the individual for the fair market value of same? Can the individual transfer the firearms to a dealer and receive some compensation or if there is no compensation offered then can we call this by its correct name; theft?
The person who is the target of the ERPO will also have to pay fees for storage and suffer whatever loss there is to the value of their firearms due to the rough mishandling and improper storage of them.
If you have a rifle such as this engraved Browning BAR, worth several thousand dollars would you want it stored like this:
It will also fall upon the respondent to foot all of the costs, such as attorney’s fees, for this assault on his constitutional rights if he decides to contest the action.
And finally, some of the firearms that were valuable may have simply been “misplaced”. I have read of numerous examples where certain items have simply gone missing and the respondent is then left to either sue the police or just accept the loss. (See New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina.)
So John Doe might be a danger. Or perhaps his still enraged ex-wife wants to cause him a lot of trouble or a neighbor is just mad at him because his dog barks. A phone call is made and an emergency court proceeding that he may or may not be invited to (depending upon which state he lives in) convenes and his right to bear arms is abrogated. The police arrive unannounced, usually in the early morning or nighttime and remove his firearms or at least the ones they know about. Keep in mind that the purpose of all of this is to enable the state to identify a potential mass murderer before they have done anything.
BEFORE they have done anything.
Punishment first, crime, perhaps later, who really knows?
But once the firearms are removed John is left to himself with no further action from his government.
Let that sink in for a minute.
John, who was deemed to be on the verge of some paroxysm of violence serious enough to convene the Star Chamber and send the police to confiscate his firearms, is now left all alone. If John wasn’t a brooding anti-government type before he certainly is now. If he was someone who was on the verge of some spasm of violence then he may now be more firmly set on this course. He may now be envisioning a far more grandiose event as a demonstration of his displeasure. But, no mental health services are offered to him. No further monitoring is planned. The government got what it really wanted; his Second Amendment Rights and his firearms.
Good luck John.
Good luck John’s neighbors.
Good luck John’s town.
An April 2018 poll found that 85% of registered voters support laws that would “allow the police to take guns away from people who may be a danger to themselves or others” (71% “strongly supported” while 14% “somewhat supported” such laws).
But as my dear grandmother used to say, “It all depends on whose ass the bull’s horn is up against!”
Would these same people still support this type of law if it might affect them in some way? Or is the support really just based upon a disdain for that bastard child of the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment?
Should we take away dangerous items from other people without due process?
|Citizen: “Hi, I’m worried about my neighbor that lives next door to me. He’s often ranting and raving about the government and seems to be very angry and possibly violent. I think he might be a danger to himself or others.”
Police officer: “OK. How many guns does he have and might you know if he carries one?”
Citizen: “Oh, he doesn’t have any guns that I know of. He’s an airline pilot!”
What about an airline pilot who is reported to authorities as someone who has become angry, disillusioned and violent? Should his pilot’s license be suspended? If we are so concerned about violence and are willing to punish people BEFORE the crimes we THINK they MAY commit, shouldn’t we do something about someone who has building-toppling power at his fingertips?
What about a man who drives gasoline tanker trucks?
How about the pilot of that LNG tanker that is coming into the harbor?
What about a man who drives a school bus full of our children?
How about a surgeon, anesthetist or pharmacist?
Certainly we’re concerned about the restaurant chef who cooks food for hundreds of unsuspecting people every day, right?
What about the person responsible for the water system of an entire town?
Maybe that angry teacher who is going through a messy divorce shouldn’t be left alone all day with a classroom full of rambunctious first graders who are pushing her buttons.
Surely if someone reports that any of these people are becoming angry and disillusioned then certainly we should remove from them the means to cause massive carnage and death, right? Any professional licenses should be suspended and job attendance blocked, right?
Are we still comfortable when what essentially amounts to a whisper campaign from just about anyone can leave you out of work with a black mark on your record?
As I write this there is news from a Connecticut State Senate hearing on gun control where a woman was observed texting a message that read, “If I had a gun, I’d blow away Sampson and a large group of NRA…”
(Sen. Rob Sampson, R-Wolcott, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment)
The incident was reported to the Capitol Police. Capitol Police Sgt. Jeffrey Barter said they determined there was no threat. (Really?!?) The woman was asked to leave, but was not arrested. Perhaps she doesn’t own any guns since she said in her text that “if” she had one she would take the offensive action. But, after making a threat of mass death should she be allowed to go about her life as if nothing happened? Where does she work? What does she do? Does she have access to any other means of committing mass murder as she has clearly intimated is her desire? Shouldn’t she be prevented from driving an automobile or renting a truck? Shouldn’t she be placed on the no-fly list? Shouldn’t her credit cards be monitored to be sure she’s not buying fertilizers and other chemicals? After all we don’t have to take the biased word of some current or former friend, current or former neighbor, current or former jilted lover or family member; we have the evidence of her overt threats right in hand on her phone in her texts for all to see.
Or perhaps this is really only about the right to bear arms that our elite leaders simply cannot stand.
And if it is, then just maybe we should be thinking about why it is that our leaders so desperately want us disarmed.