And So It Begins…

On Saturday, NewsMax reported that President Biden signed the gun control bill recently passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The article reports:

The legislation will toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders and help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people adjudged to be dangerous.

Most of its $13 billion cost will help bolster mental health programs and aid schools, which have been targeted in Newtown, Connecticut, and Parkland, Florida, and elsewhere in mass shootings.

Biden said the compromise hammered out by a bipartisan group of senators “doesn’t do everything I want” but “it does include actions I’ve long called for that are going to save lives.”

“I know there’s much more work to do, and I’m never going to give up, but this is a monumental day,” said the president, who was joined by his wife, Jill, a teacher, for the signing.

…Biden signed the measure two days after the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday striking down a New York law that restricted peoples’ ability to carry concealed weapons.

While the new law does not include tougher restrictions long championed by Democrats, such as a ban on assault-style weapons and background checks for all gun transactions, it is the most impactful firearms violence measure produced by Congress since enactment a long-expired assault weapons ban in 1993.

Pay attention to the words used here–the President is signaling that he is going to push for further limitations on the Second Amendment rights of Americans. Red flag laws are unconstitutional and can be easily misused by a politicized Justice Department (or local police department or angry neighbor or angry ex-wife or angry ex-girlfriend). They deny due process to the person whose guns are being seized. Notice also that the language has changed from assault weapons ban to assault-style weapons ban. That gives the people who plan to pass a law in the future to seize these guns more latitude in the guns they seize.

We need some good court challenges to red flag laws to make their way through the courts.

 

If You Had Any Doubt…

There may be (or not be) some good ideas in the current gun legislation moving through Congress. However, those of us who believe in the Second Amendment need to be very wary of what is happening. On Monday, Townhall posted an article that should give all of us pause. Public Safety may not be the goal of the Democrat Party.

The article reports:

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) praised the details of the bipartisan framework from the Senate on the issue of gun control but noted this should be used to pursue even more aggressive restrictions.

In a statement on Sunday, Murphy said the framework is a great step “in restoring sanity to our national dialogue” on firearms and “while this agreement is only a narrow first step, it is recognition that the ability of the gun lobby to block any and all common sense gun safety laws by its mere presence is waning and reform is possible. The door has cracked open. We must open it wider.”

One of my main concerns in this debate is the acceptance of ‘red flag laws.’ These laws are unconstitutional as they deny the person whose guns are confiscated his day in court. The only way I would support a ‘red flag law’ would be if it came with a promise of an appearance before a judge within 4 hours of the guns being seized. Even then, the constitutionality of the law is questionable.

Section I of the Fourteenth Amendment states:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Second Amendment is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, how can it be denied without due process?

This Sounds Good, But It Is A Mistake

If a camel’s nose gets under the tent, the rest of the camel will soon follow. That is actually a good warning. It’s a shame our Republican legislators in Washington have either not heard it or choose to ignore it. They are also choosing to ignore the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which states that ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’

On Sunday, NewsMax reported the following:

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including enough Republicans to overcome the chamber’s “filibuster” rule, on Sunday announced an agreement on a framework for potential gun safety legislation.

The bill included support for state “red flag” laws, tougher background checks for firearms buyers under 21 and a crackdown on a practice called “straw purchases” but not other limits Democrats and President Joe Biden had advocated such as raising the age for buying semiautomatic rifles to 21 or new limits on assault-style rifles.

Ten Republicans signaled their support for the preliminary deal, indicating the measure potentially could advance to a vote on passage and overcome roadblocks by other Republicans who oppose most gun control measures.

The talks that led to the framework followed a series of high-profile mass shootings in the United States, including one at a school in Uvalde, Texas, last month that killed 19 young children and one also in May in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket that killed 10 Black victims.

What the Senators do not seem to realize is that people who are intent on breaking the law (murder is, after all, against the law), do not follow gun laws. All that will happen as a result of this bill (assuming it will be passed) is that it will be more difficult for law-abiding citizens to get guns. That is the scenario the Second Amendment was passed to prevent. Red flag laws are unconstitutional because they do not allow for due process. They are also very easily abused. This is a bad bill.

The article continues:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, issued a statement calling the plan “a good first step” and one that would “limit the ability of potential mass shooters to quickly obtain assault rifles by establishing an enhanced background check process for gun purchasers under age 21.”

Schumer said that he wanted to move a bill quickly to a Senate vote once legislative details are worked out.

The United States has the highest rate of firearms deaths among the world’s wealthy nations. But it is a country where many cherish gun rights and its Constitution’s Second Amendment protects the right to “keep and bear arms.”

According to a Politifact post of March 20, 2018:

The main study of intentional homicides is performed by the United Nations’ Office of Drug Control. The UN warns against cross-national comparisons because of the differences in legal definitions of intentional homicides and recording practices.

Our count of the UN’s data placed the United States ninth in intentional homicides. We used the most up-to-date count for each country and territory, which included data anywhere from 2007 to 2015.

As the country with the third-highest population size, however, experts told us the number of people killed is not a very useful metric.

Controlling for population size, most criminologists use the per 100,000 metric. By that standard, we found the United States ranked 94th.

When we counted only the countries for which the UN had 2015 data, the United States ranked 73rd. That’s still far from the top ten.

Lied to again.

 

This Doesn’t Look Good For The Future

Yesterday One America News posted an article about what has happened since Colorado implemented red flag laws a year ago.

The article reports:

According to the report released on Thursday, over 100 red flag protection orders were filed in 2020.

Police reportedly removed firearms from the homes of 66 people who were flagged by family members, legal guardians or law enforcement officers. Under the new law, a judge can approve firearm confiscation if there is a belief a person could be a threat to themselves or others.

One of the most recent instances of the order in action is in the case of Bryce Shelby, a man accused of making threats against the state’s attorney general and several other government officials.

Denver Police alleged Shelby’s behavior was escalating and through the red flag laws, they forced him to surrender his two rifles. Though the state’s attorney general chose not to press charges against Shelby, he will not regain possession of his firearms for a total of 364 days.

Several of the year’s emergency Extreme Risk Protection Orders were placed against law enforcement, but were shut down by the courts.

For example, early on in 2020, an inmate tried to claim Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams was a threat. The order request was sent to a judge who quickly threw it out for lack of evidence, which allowed some to say the law worked. However, Reams argues it showed the law can be used frivolously.

The article concludes:

Reams is among those who are the most skeptical of the new law due to its vague guidelines, which allow weapons to be confiscated even without criminal charges.

“But to go in and conduct a search warrant on someone’s home based on the word of a third party, I think that’s a huge overreach of the Constitution,” Reams stated. “And that’s where I’d have to draw the line.”

There has been a lot of debate over the constitutionality of red flag laws. The President has said he supports them at the federal level, but gun advocates argue the orders contradict the Second Amendment.

Andrew Napolitano, who served as a New Jersey Superior Court judge from 1987 to 1995,  said: “The concept of a red flag law violates both the presumption of innocence and the due process requirement of proof of criminal behavior before liberty can be infringed.”

Heading into the New Year with an incoming Democrat majority in the new Congress, many proponents of the right to bear arms worry about future restrictive gun laws.

Losing the Second Amendment while the First Amendment is on life support does not portend good things for the future of America.

The Problem With Red Flag Laws

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about Florida’s Red Flag Law. Please follow the link to read the entire article. Based on what has happened since the law was passed, some of Florida’s counties were awash with crazy people and other counties had a totally sane population. I doubt either is entirely true.

The article reports:

Florida enacted its red flag law in the spring of 2018 and they didn’t lose any time in putting it to use. And I mean a lot of use. But as this report from the Associated Press indicates, use of the law is not consistent from county to county and there are serious questions remaining as to how fairly it’s being applied.

That is the problem with Red Flag Laws–they deny a citizen due process and they are arbitrary in the sense that an unhappy neighbor can file a complaint without a truly good reason.

The article continues:

The first thing I would point out here is that the AP article was edited to have a rather disingenuous title. It reads “In 2 years, Florida ‘red flag’ law removes hundreds of guns.” While that’s technically true, the actual number is more than 3,500, so “thousands of guns” would have been a more accurate description.

The article concludes:

Here’s one other hole in the state’s red flag law that has many people concerned. These red flag hearings are not considered criminal proceedings so you aren’t entitled to a lawyer assigned by the court. If you’re too poor to afford a good attorney, your chances of prevailing at the hearing go way down. With all that in mind, how many of these “success” stories about gun confiscations were actually brought by people with an ax to grind against their neighbor or angry ex-wives and girlfriends? Once the judge makes the decision to confiscate your weapons, that’s pretty much it. You’re allowed to appeal, but again, if you don’t have a good lawyer what chance do you have?

I’ve been on the fence about these red flag laws since they first started cropping up. In extreme cases like the ones I mentioned at the top, I can definitely see firearms removal as being justifiable. But the system is also open to abuse and there appear to be few safeguards in place for the wrongly accused.

The Battle For The Second Amendment

The Washington Examiner posted an article today with the following headline, “Sheriffs may go to jail to protect ‘Second Amendment sanctuaries,’ congressman says.”

Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam recently told WTKR that any law enforcement officer that did not carry out gun control laws enacted by the state would face “consequences,” but he did not give any specifics.

The Second Amendment states:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The article notes:

Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie thinks some local law enforcement leaders will be willing to go to jail rather than comply with state gun control laws they deem unconstitutional.

“Attended my first 2A sanctuary meeting today in Lewis County (where I live). Standing room only. Friends and neighbors spoke passionately and articulately. County officials unanimously passed a resolution,” Massie tweeted on Dec. 30. “This grassroots movement feels even stronger than the Tea Party in 2010.”

“Second Amendment sanctuary” municipalities last year sprouted up in Illinois, a state with some of the strictest gun control laws. They then spread to Colorado, Kentucky, New Mexico, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, Washington state, and other states.

Massie cited Weld County, Colorado Sheriff Steve Reams, a critic of the state’s “red flag” law, who has offered to put himself in his own jail rather than enforce the state law.

“His county government has already voted to fund his legal fees should he end up in a protracted legal battle that might go all the way” to the Supreme Court, Massie told the Washington Examiner.

“And so that’s one of the things that when you boil it all down and say, ‘What does the sanctuary county movement mean?’” Massie said. “So, what it could mean is that county governments decide to use taxpayer dollars, with the blessing of the taxpayers in those counties, to support the sheriffs in their court battles.”

Red flag laws are unconstitutional–they violate the principle of innocent until proven guilty, and they take property from citizens without the necessary legal procedures. Those laws seem like a good idea on the surface until you realize that people could use those laws to take guns away from people they simply don’t like. Unfortunately, red flag laws in action could very easily mirror what happened during the Salem Witch Trials where a person was accused of being a witch because someone wanted their farm. This is a glaring example of what happens when the legal rights of the accused are not respected.

How Red Flag Laws Can Be Misused

The American Thinker posted an article today about a move during the Obama administration to deny gun rights to veterans and senior citizens.

The article reports:

The Obama administration’s idea of keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill was based on a bizarre and discriminatory definition of who might be mentally unstable. In 2013 it was reported that the Veterans Administration was sending letters to vets warning them that they might be declared mentally incompetent and denied their Second Amendment rights unless they could prove otherwise:

The contempt by the Obama administration for our Constitution and our rights has reached a new low with news the Veterans Administration has begun sending letters to veterans telling them they will be declared mentally incompetent and stripped of the Second Amendment rights unless they can prove to unnamed bureaucrats to the contrary…

“A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2),” the letter reads…

While mental health is a factor in the current gun control debate and recent mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., and elsewhere have in common the questionable mental state of the shooters, to single out returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan this way is unconscionable and unconstitutional.

As the Los Angeles Times has reported, the Obama administration would have liked like to make our Social Security records part of the background check system. The move would have stripped some four million Americans who receive payments though a “representative payee” of their gun rights. It would be the largest gun grab in U.S. history.

A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.”

There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.

The article concludes:

Keeping guns out of the hands of the truly mentally unstable is a worthy goal, but it should not be used as a cause for disarming veterans who carried a weapon in defense of their country or seniors who might need some assistance in paying their bills.

They deserve the presumption of innocence, and sanity, every bit as much as Vester Flanagan. Stripping away their Second Amendment rights in the name of mental health would be a gross injustice that would not make us safer, but would merely create millions of unarmed victims for the next shooter with an agenda.

We need to make sure that American citizens understand our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is there to limit the rights of government–not the rights of citizens. If we want to preserve our republic, we have to continue to fight to protect those rights our Founding Fathers codified in the Constitution and The Bill of Rights.

Ignoring Our God-given Rights Enumerated In The U.S. Consitution

Yesterday Townhall posted an article that illustrates the problem with the ‘red flag’ laws currently being discussed by gun-control advocates. The article tells the story of Jonathan Carpenter, a Florida resident.

The article reports:

According to Ammoland, Jonathan Carpenter received a certified letter from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services saying his concealed handgun permit had been suspended for “acts of domestic violence or acts of repeat violations.”

Carpenter was forced to go to the Osceola County clerk’s office to have a form filled out stating he wasn’t the person law enforcement was looking for. At that point, the clerk instructed Carpenter to speak with the sheriff’s office.

Ammoland reports:

The Sheriff’s office supplied Carpenter with a copy of the injunction. In the statement, the plaintiff stated that she rented a room out to a “Jonathan Edward Carpenter” and his girlfriend. She alleged that this Carpenter was a drug dealer who broke her furniture and sold her belongings without her permission. He had a gun, and she feared for her life. She was not sure if the firearm was legal or not.

Carpenter had never met the woman in question and never lived at the address listed in the restraining order. Moreover, other than being white, he looked nothing like the man the terrorized the woman.

The man in question is 5’8. Carpenter is 5’11. The alleged drug dealer is 110lbs. Carpenter is over 200. The man has black hair. Carpenter is completely bald. Last but not least, the man in question is covered in tattoos, and Carpenter only has a few.

Even though it was evident they had the wrong man, Carpenter was forced to hand over his firearms. There was no hearing or any kind of court proceeding.

Read those last two sentences again.

The article concludes:

Carpenter’s firearms had to remain in police custody until the plaintiff can say, in court, that he’s not the man that she filed a complaint against. He’d then have to petition the court to get his firearms back…and he would have to bear the cost. Carpenter will get his day in court later this month. 

What’s happening to this man is the exact instance Second Amendment supporters have worried about. This very instant is what we’ve talked about, time and time again. What if Carpenter needed to defend himself between now and his court date? He couldn’t, because the government failed him. He’s having to prove himself innocent in a country where everyone is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

The ‘laws’ used to confiscate Mr. Carpenter’s firearms are not constitutional. This nightmare scenario would be frequently repeated if ‘red flag’ laws are passed. Mr. Carpenter is innocent until proven guilty. He was not treated that way.