November 2019

Seeing Red Over Red Flag Laws

I recently came across an essay by Dr. John Edeen, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in San Antonio and the membership director for Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO.us). DRGO is a nationwide advocacy and watchdog group of physicians and other health professionals who promote gun safety and who seek to prevent injury and death “through wise use [of firearms] and lawful self defense.” Part of the DRGO mission statement says, “We teach what science shows — that guns in responsible hands save lives, reduce injuries, and protect property by preventing violent crime.”

So Dr. Edeen, who prominently notes he’s not a attorney, nonetheless has concerns about so-called “red flag” laws that mirror my own. I don’t use the “red flag” language because I think it’s inaccurate and evasive. I think “no-due-process gun confiscations” is correct. And I think the red rules are ripe for abuse.

Todd Woodard

Edeen notes in his essay that “Red Flag laws are currently in effect in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Hawaii’s and Nevada’s Red Flag laws will take effect on January 1, 2020. Red Flag laws allow courts to issue orders to temporarily confiscate the firearms of individuals deemed to be a risk to themselves or others. Individual states differ as to who can request this.”

Like Edeen, my objections to these laws aren’t based solely on 2nd Amendment infringements. He writes that the hearings are “… ex parte, which means that the at-risk individual has no notice, no representation and no opportunity to rebut the claims of those who would have his firearms taken. In most cases, the only warning is the knock on the door when law enforcement comes to take his property.”

Edeen says, and I agree, “Many Constitutional protections are turned upside down or violated by these laws.”  The most obvious I had figured out were the Second Amendment and the Fourth Amendment. Edeen points out what he considers to be violations of the Fifth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment, among others.

Boiled down to their essence, under the Red Flag laws, “Your accuser has no obligation to prove your guilt. The order to deprive you of your Constitutional rights is given using completely unsubstantiated, arbitrary terms. You then have to stand before your government to prove your innocence,” Edeen concludes.

These laws are being used every day to strip citizens of their rights and guns. To read Edeen’s essay and get a fuller understanding of the problems, search online for “Red Flags for ERPOs & GVROs” and it should pop right up.

Comments (17)

Name a government regulation the is NOT "ripe for abuse" and /or has never been abused.

"Political tags -- such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth -- are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort."
― Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by: OldJarhead03 | January 31, 2020 6:49 PM    Report this comment

Well we all know where this is leading to. Exactly where they want us. UNABLE TO DEFEND OURSELVES! If they give the ability to most anybody to lie or twist the truth so that their ex husband, wife, etc. etc. will have their home invaded and kinda legally Robbed.

Posted by: Kanoy | January 31, 2020 2:24 PM    Report this comment

I thought the purpose of having a self defense weapon was to protect against those that use weapons for offensive crimes. Less offensive people without weapons should be a good thing.

Posted by: James K | January 31, 2020 1:48 PM    Report this comment

Who is "lethally crazy?" Who is "safely sane?" And who, in their right mind, is so righteous to authoritatively answer either question? A Democrat judge or a Republican judge? I seriously question the "objectivity" of alleged professionals in the field of psychiatry where a vast majority deem gun ownership itself to be a mental illness.

Until the social engineering movie, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," we used to lock up the criminally insane. But with that "soul searching" movie, our society has shifted from "error on the side of public safety" to "error on the side of the kook." A compelling argument can be made that the result was Sandy Hook and many more. How many "sane" mass shooters can you name?

Red Flag laws are fundamentally unconstitutional on many levels, the least of which is due process. (Innocent until proven guilty.) In a society where political allegiances is grounds for "judging" all opponents as CRAZY, Red Flag laws are a "lethal weapon" to individual rights which can be used against every law-abiding gun owner in this country.

Posted by: Incredulous1 | January 31, 2020 12:39 PM    Report this comment

It seems to me that the answer to gun owners living in states with these constitutional violations in affect need the services of a shell game provider. Joe Blows gun buying emporium will buy your legal firearms for $$$. Joe will hold your firearms at his facility. If authorities still try to seize you guns Joe will have sold them online to John Smith from Kansas who sold them at a local gun show to "some guy, gee I don't remember his name"........ Soon enough the authorities will realize that when they hear over and over "I sold them to Joe Blows Gun Emporium" they will turn around and end they're search.
Calling Joe Blow, Joe here's your opportunity to open a multi-state operation.
Or, have a trusted friend rent a storage unit (closet size) to store your guns in then buy several rusty worthless guns to give the authorities when they come knocking.

Posted by: bisonwings | January 1, 2020 2:48 AM    Report this comment

Having the misfortune is working in a psychiatric facility for 30 years,I can tell you any potential expression of grief will place you under pressure for "counseling".rest assured this will be used to subjugate your freedoms to police scrutiny.failure to submit to this will give them justification to build their numbers.as most mental health workers have problems themselves and are of a far left political idealogy misery enjoys company and your rights are at risk

Posted by: walt kowalski | December 27, 2019 2:50 PM    Report this comment

I live in the people's republic of Massachusetts and long before this "red flag" bs was instituted two friends were denied renewal of their ltc's after being licensed and renewed for many years. One because of a juvenile felony arrest on an arson charge 65 years prior and a family man with nothing even a parking ticket in that time. The second friend as an over the road truck driver forced into an illegal search of his truck in N.Y. And finding his .357 under the seat. A license holder and law abiding citizen all of his life didn't make any difference he'd had an Ltc for over 35 years.. With this state without warning enacted this bogus law and abuse it leaving those affected without any recourse..

Posted by: Jeffb. | December 27, 2019 2:35 PM    Report this comment

First, one may be blindsided by an individual unknown.
This offers the greatest possible risk for abuse. If this did happen how likely are you to have your firearms returned.
I was in a situation and I preempted it by calling the police. This not only defused the situation it put it on record as some one trying to abuse the law against me.
I understand the intent, however I also strongly believe the risk for abuse is astronomical. These laws could be a gateway to more restrictive laws.

Posted by: J308 | December 27, 2019 1:46 PM    Report this comment

In February, 2000, I was "Red Flagged" before ERPOs and "Red Flag" was in existence. It was (mis-)used as a tool for positioning in a divorce proceeding. Even my attorney, who I found out later was very left-leaning, was appalled at the Lack of Due Process and a Blatant Violation of the Constitution. The local P.D., which was charged with conficating my firearms, would not let the firearms leave the local jurisdiction and kept them at the local P.D. for safe keeping instead of with the County Sheriff's office.
To summarize, all officials involved except the judge who invoked it, were appalled. At the end of the year, my firearms were returned, as was my CCW.
I never knew that my CCW was suspended because the notice was sent Registered, Restricted Delivery , to the address I was barred from. (Duh!) It never made it to my possession. I found out about it when I received a letter that it was restored.
Now, in 2019, since the last election cycle and the loss of (some) conservatives in the County Judicial System, I wonder if my rights would have been restored and my firearms returned.
Be vigilant and take nothing for granted. ERPOs can, and will be abused.

Posted by: HiWay | November 21, 2019 3:01 PM    Report this comment

Double L: My fellow citizen: If you are aware someone is driving drunk, please report it. If you know they are not driving drunk, please do not file a false police report. I believe the penalties for DUI include suspending the driver license, mandatory counseling and sobriety checks, fines, sometimes jail, sometimes alcohol-sensitive ignition locking devices after license is restored. I don't think the perp forfeits the car. Just can't use it until the matter is satisfactorily cleared up. Drunk driving kills too many people. As to red-flag reporting of "armed and dangerous" misfits, consider it like the admonition regarding terrorism: "If you see something, say something." If it turns out you're the kook, law enforcement will figure it out. Don't falsely report any crime. Peace.

Posted by: Monticello | November 8, 2019 5:30 PM    Report this comment

Since I do not consume alcoholic beverages, may I report my neighbors or any one I do not like to the authority that they are drinking and driving?
I would feel much safer if their automobiles were confiscated. Of course they would never know I did it.
There are more people killed with auto's driven by drinking drivers than rifles.
Who could possibly be against this red flag law on alcohol and drivers?
It's called common sense in order to save lives. "If it will only save one life".

Posted by: Double L | November 8, 2019 12:05 PM    Report this comment

News flash for "snowflake" Seconders: Any law can be abused, and probably has been, "good" laws included. But, guess what, the answer isn't "no laws." The process of protecting both the common good and individual rights will never end and always be adjusted, influenced by human behavior, demographics, technology, results, environmental changes, etc. etc. Some laws need to be abolished, e.g. outlawing witchcraft, permitting human slavery; other laws need amending, and some new laws are needed. Get used to it, it's called "reality." As to red flag laws, I hear what you don't want, but what do you do if you perceive a relative or neighbor amassing center fire semi-autos with high capacity detachable magazines, and ammo, and muttering about "they're out to get us, but their day is coming?" Ammo up, and lock your doors? Good enough, civic duty done?

Posted by: Monticello | November 8, 2019 8:06 AM    Report this comment

Glad to know that gun all owners feel they live in Medieval Times. Not all gun owners are law-abiding. Why do you have a gun? To protect yourself from those who should not, correct? It's those people that the Red Flag laws are designed to impact, not you. If you are worried that the authorities are going to take your guns, then maybe You have a problem.

If you think it's OK that everyone regardless of intent or background should legally own guns then we Would live in Medieval Times.

Posted by: James K | November 8, 2019 7:34 AM    Report this comment

I note the similarity to the late medieval inquisition, especially in the holy roman empire (believe it or not, the Spanish wasn't the worst), Accusation was used for revenge, or to grab real property, or any other trivial purpose. even the primitive citizen rights of the time were trampled on. Once accused, ruin followed. Proceedings were held in secret, and punishments harsh. The late reign of Henry VIII used the same techniques to persecute the exercise of free thought.

So, there is nothing new about this behavior. Drugs and rico presently provide authorities the ability to grab money and property without due process, and to profit from it to boot. Now firearms will be added to the list. Each encroachment on due process makes the next encroachment easier. Finally, there will be nothing but arbitrary punishment for arbitrary "offenses" by arbitrary authority. Welcome to Kafka Land.

Posted by: buffler | November 7, 2019 3:05 PM    Report this comment

There is no question that red flag laws "might" be abused. They have been, frequently, for decades. I have personal knowledge of a case in California from the 90s in which a divorce lawyer lied outright in the initial petition asserting domestic violence. The judge was pleased to issue the order. The first thing the hapless hubby knew about it was when he was served, as there had been no domestic violence. Back in those days he was able to give his guns to a family member for storage while he argued his case (which took 6 months). Family member firearms custody is no longer good enough in Kommiefornia, now when this happens the guns must be placed with an FFL who will store them or with the police who are not likely to return them. Ex-parte determinations of "high risk" for an individual are commonplace in family law (civil) and domestic violence (criminal) accusations. Men have related several such stories to me since the 90s.
Now that the list of people who can make accusations is widened to include coworkers, teachers, and doctors, the chilling effect will be a wet blanket on all law-abiding gun owners. Imagine, you have a difference of opinion with your third-grader's teacher, next day she asks your kid if Dad has guns, and then she makes the call, "As Joey's teacher I think he shows signs of abuse, and Daddy has guns....." and your nightmare begins. Or you are competing for a promotion at work and your co-worker makes a similar call to take you out of the game.
In my experience people who have been through these travesties are not quick to relate them. When law-abiding citizens are suddenly treated like criminals, they feel a stigma and don't want to advertise that it happened to them. That silence enables the progressives enacting these laws. I would ask all who have been subjected to this treatment to speak up, if only to write a line below, "Hey, it happened to me too, and I (got back)(lost) my guns!"

Posted by: SteelChickenGuy | November 7, 2019 1:38 PM    Report this comment

2 things standout here:

The first has to do with confiscating a singular item that they consider a weapon to be used against the innocent. Like someone who they think is unbalanced in the first place won't use some other, probably more destructive item to lash out?

The second concerns barging into someones' place (who they feel is a danger to himself, or others) unannounced and confiscating their property. Seems to me that would just push that person over the edge, when instead of helping the person they were seriously concerned about in the first place - thus causing them to strap on a bomb vest, or some other equally large WMD, and take out a few dozen people or more in one go.

Tell me again how these laws are supposed to protect us and help those that need help?

Posted by: gmartin2000 | November 7, 2019 1:29 PM    Report this comment

Agreed Red Flag Laws are an attack on the 2nd, Fifth, & Fourteenth. I've seen many Judges strike down the Red Flag in different area's as being Unconstitutional. But, the damage is done both physically & emotionally. So why are so many gun owners allowing their weapons to be illegally confiscated ?? OK a gun to the head might do it, but gun owners better start thinking in advance "What If". Do a little research into how to prepare, prevent such Un-Constitutional actions. It might save your life, & those who come to do the Lefts dirty work.

Posted by: Gunflint | November 7, 2019 12:17 PM    Report this comment

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