An Investigative Essay by John M Jones III (8/07/19)
After the Parkland shooting many pols in florida and many other states flipped out and enacted “red flag laws (rfl’s) or extreme risk protection orders” (1,2) These laws may sound good, but once you read the fine print they are not only pretty awful but are directly counter to the constitution of the United States of America.
I understand why people feel the need for them, but it took me, an average everyday American Citizen, all of 20 minutes of make a list below of the problematic issues associated with rfls. Did florida & others even consider the potential realities & consequences of these laws before they passed them? Here they are:
RFLs are counter to our American Standard of Justice which has always been that ALL of us are innocent until proven guilty. It forces someone who has NOT committed a crime to go before a judge and prove that they will not commit a crime in the future. This person must somehow prove to a judge he is not a danger to himself or anyone else. How exactly can one prove a negative?
RFL’s could criminalize thoughts crimes. Have you ever fantasized about robbing a bank and you told someone about it? Did you really intend to do rob the bank or just daydreaming? Should you now be reported to the police & taken to court? How do you prove to a judge you were just fantasizing about it and not actually planning it? The problem is you can’t! RFLs require a judge to be a mind reader look into your mind and somehow divine whether you will or will not rob a bank using nothing but their opinion and the evidence that you ‘thought’ about it one day.
RFLs could allow one or more 3rd parties to conspire with each other to make false allegations toward a family member or other person someone out of spite, hate or revenge. As long as they keep their stories straight, they could allow a judge through their false testimony to take away the 2nd amendment rights of an innocent person. WE know that it IS possible for false allegations are made against innocent people. “That 2014 study, one of the largest of its kind, analyzed LAPD police data and estimated that “the rate of false [rape] reports among cases reported to the LAPD [in 2008] was 4.5 percent.” A 2017 study utilized FBI data over the five-year period from 2006 to 2010 to conclude that “approximately 5% of the allegations of rape were deemed false or baseless” during that time period. A 2016 meta-analysis of seven studies addressing the same question estimated that 5.2% of rape allegations were false.” (1)
RFLs only work when potential criminals outwardly express their wish or determination to commit crimes. Once they know that family members, facebook friends, twitter users, or coworkers will “rat them out” to authorities about their carryings-on they will just stop broadcasting their thoughts, intentions, or actions to others. They will keep their intentions secret until the event happens, thus negating the intent of the law, which is to identify position mass shooters, BEFORE they commit a crime in the first place.
RFLs would require citizens to get a lawyer to defend themselves. If they can’t afford a lawyer would the government provide one? If not wouldn’t RFL’s then put an undue burden on a citizen who are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty to defend themselves from possible unfounded accusations. Also is there an appeal process? I haven’t heard of one.
RFLs standards can be changed to suit the wishes of whomever is in power. Right now, most RFLs use the “danger to themselves or others” but what’s to stop some future political party adding, “anti-vaxxer, climate change denier, flat-earther, abortion supporter, or even republican, conservative, or GUN OWNER! Think about it!
RFLs sound good, but what happens when a judge orders guns be permanently taken away from a citizen. Most people don’t realize that the act removal could literally incite a person to commit the crime the government was trying to stop in the 1st place, thus negating again the whole point of the law.
RFL’s in principal sound good. They will take away the guns from someone who might use them to commit a crime, but what advocates don’t tell you is that RFLs WON’T stop a person from illegal obtaining another gun or some other lethal weapon. It also WOULDN’T stop a 3rd party from getting a gun and then giving it to a person who then commits the crime anyway. Each one of these actions would render the RFLs null & void.
While there is a need for vigilance to prevent mass killings rfl’s may NOT be a helpful tool to accomplish this because in the end they CANNOT and WILL NOT stop someone intent on committing a crime. It, also, won’t stop them from getting a weapon and illegally committing a crime. In fact it might even incite them to commit a crime when they perceive they are being persecuted by the government or by the person who reported them. In addition, the possibility of people making false accusations and politicians perverting the process for their own political gain makes rfls a dangerous and perilous road to travel for America!
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