UPDATED 12:20 PM PT – Monday, June 13, 2022
A bipartisan group of senators announced a framework for gun control following the recent mass shootings in New York and Texas. On Sunday, the senators announced they had reached an agreement for increased mental health and school security funding, as well as expanded checks on buyers under 21.
However, one provision could allow states to violate multiple constitutional rights of it’s citizens. Part of the framework includes a provision to give taxpayer funded incentive grants to states, which implement so-called red flag laws.
Such laws, already in place in 19 states and Washington D.C., allow neighbors, coworkers, ex-relations and family members to go to a judge and petition to have guns taken from individuals they claim are dangerous. A judge can typically order an immediate seizure of firearms, sending police to the home to remove the guns.
“Put simply, red flag laws empower the government to take firearms first and ask questions later. Often much, much later,” stated Senator Ted Cruz.
No crime has to have been committed, just the accusation of being “dangerous” to yourself or others. The judge can have the separation order enforced without the citizen being present to defend themselves in court. According to the far-left ACLU, such laws can infringe not only on the Second Amendment, but also violate the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment if they are not tailored properly.
A prime example of an issue that could arise from such measures occurred in Maryland back in 2018. A man had a red flag order placed against him and while no information on the reason for the order has been released, the man was not committing any crime by continuing ownership of the firearm.
Despite this, police showed up to his door and he was armed, but placed the weapon on the ground until police informed him why they were there. The man reportedly became irate, picked up the firearm and had an argument with police. The argument turned violent and shots were fired, resulting in the man’s death.
According to Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, this suppression of rights has no positive tradeoffs. He said research showed that red flag laws do not stop mass shootings and negligibly reduces suicides.
“No research has found any statistical reduction in crime,” said Cruz. “Including, mass shooting fatalities from confiscation laws and studies about suicide reduction show mixed results.”
Despite the red flag incentives being proposed, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Republican leader in the negotiations, has maintained an A-Plus rating from the NRA. The gun rights organization has said they will oppose efforts to strip constitutional rights from Americans, but only once a bill is drafted outside of a framework.
Along with Cornyn, nine other Republican senators, including Ohio’s Rob Portman and South Carolina’s Lindsay Graham, back the framework proposed red flag grants and all.