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.
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.