By Matt Agorist
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has introduced S.292 — Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act of 2021, and he has garnered support from the gun-grabbing Democrats and Republicans alike. On Wednesday, this latest Red Flag gun confiscation bill, gets a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which includes notorious gun grabbers like Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL).
Unlike red flag legislation on which TFTP has reported in the past which involve state laws, S.292 will apply to all states and Indian Tribes. Under the guise of a “grant program” the bill will bribe states to enact the most comprehensive red flag law we’ve ever seen.
The Assistant Attorney General shall make grants to an eligible State or Indian Tribe to assist the State or Indian Tribe in carrying out the provisions of a qualifying State or Tribal law.
S.292 is described as a bill:
To provide family members of an individual who they fear is a danger to himself, herself, or others, or law enforcement, with new tools to prevent gun violence.
However, as the Free Thought Project has reported in the past, these “tools” have failed repeatedly and pave the way for rampant abuse. Naturally, the “fact checkers” have already taken to defending the bill, claiming that it doesn’t remove due process.
However, citizens who are targeted by these laws will be deemed guilty first, and only after their guns are taken will they have a chance to defend themselves in court. This is de facto removal of due process.
According to the legislation, “If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others by having in his or her custody or control, or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving, a firearm or ammunition, the court shall issue an extreme risk protection order for a period the court determines is appropriate, which may not exceed 12 months.”
This “clear and convincing evidence” can be presented over the telephone, according to the legislation.
A court may conduct the hearing required under clause (i) by telephone, pursuant to local court rules.
There is a reason murder trials are conducted on telephones.
Under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, due process clauses are in place to act as a safeguard from arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the government outside the sanction of law. It is a fact that a person can be denied life, liberty and property outside the sanction of the law under red flag legislation. Although it may be temporary, this is a difference only in degree — not in kind.
A recent fact check by Politifact claims red flag laws are not a removal of due process because the accused is guaranteed to have a hearing “not later than 14 days after the date of such order.”
Despite citing the elements of Due Process, as laid out by MIT — which specifically states the defendant has the right to know the charges or all the major elements of the charges and in some cases the right to know the rules and policies that are relevant; in some cases the right to know who is the accuser and that they deserve the timeliness of the process and of each step of the process — Politifact claims, without reference, that the 14-day period after the person’s guns have been confiscated, is due process.
According to Politifact, “the due process requirements in a given case can vary, though, based on the circumstances or type of proceeding.” They provide no source for such a claim or provide any detail on the alleged variances.
The fact of the matter is that it is entirely possible for false accusations to be made and an innocent person suffer harm by being unable to defend themselves from accusations stemming from the secretive process of red flag laws. Whether or not it is one day or 100, the removal of someone’s right to face their accuser while punishing that person in the process, is wrong.
On top of the unethical process of red flag laws, as TFTP has reported, they have proven to be ineffective. One such instance happened earlier this month. On April 15, 19-year-old Brandon Hole did the unthinkable when he stormed into an Indianapolis FedEx facility with a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle and killed eight people.
As he was a resident of Indiana, he was subject to the state’s red flag laws. In March of 2020, he actually found himself on the receiving end of the state’s red flag law.
“[Hole’s] mother told law enforcement in March 2020 that her son told her he would attempt ‘suicide by cop,’” CNN reported. “At the time, officials took a shotgun found at his home into custody, Marion County prosecutor Ryan Mears said Monday. And yet, later that year, Hole was able to legally purchase assault rifles.”
Another example is the tragedy that unfolded in California in 2019, as a deranged gunman, Kevin Douglas Limbaugh, walked up on an innocent woman, officer Natalie Corona, pulled out his guns and began shooting her repeatedly until she died. Limbaugh then fired several more shots at others before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life. Had more people been nearby, Limbaugh would’ve likely carried out a mass shooting.
Limbaugh’s case is important to bring up due to the fact that — before he killed a cop — he, like Hole, was subject to California’s “red flag” laws in 2018. Limbaugh was given a high-risk assessment that ordered him to turn in his registered weapons to police, the only one being a Bushmaster AR-15. On November 9, Limbaugh turned in the weapon.
Despite being banned from possessing and purchasing a weapon, he still obtained one illegally and used it to commit murder.
Nikolas Cruz was a similar case as he had committed multiple felonies, was known to both the police and the FBI, and yet he still managed to obtain the weapon he used to carry out the Parkland massacre.
In reality, the impetus behind the red flag gun laws seem to be more about political grandstanding and less about actual safety — especially considering their track record.
Despite many states adopting red flag laws and thousands of guns being seized, there is still almost no evidence they reduce crime.
“The evidence,” The New York Times reported in 2019, “for whether extreme risk protection orders work to prevent gun violence is inconclusive, according to a study by the RAND Corporation on the effectiveness of gun safety measures.”
Plain and simple, government officials cannot be trusted unwittingly with the tyrannical power to arbitrarily remove the due process of individuals on a whim. If not stopped in its tracks, this red flag movement could be the fatal crack in the dam that is the only thing holding back the government from disarming entirely peaceful and non-threatening individuals with whom they disagree.
If we really want to solve America’s problem of gun violence we must seek to understand why Americans are so willing to kill, not punish law-abiding citizens.