Given the mass murders due to gun violence last weekend with 22 in El Paso, Texas, nine in Dayton, Ohio, 11 in Chicago and four in Baltimore; it is easy to see why President Donald Trump would seek a national solution – it is a national problem. Still, the Constitution specifically forbids a national solution – even a state solution – without a new amendment to the Constitution altering the Second Amendment, because self-defense is an individual right, even a God-given right, and not a right from government.
“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,” according to the Second Amendment. At the time of writing, “militia” was the citizen and “shall not be infringed” meant off limits to government.
The only constitutional solution is a new amendment processed through Article V which requires a two-step proposal and ratification process, the latter requiring three-fourths of the states. Anything short of this process is a serious “infringement” or violation of the Constitution, and a single violation justifies future violations until this particular freedom for self-defense with a firearm is lost to future generations.
“Red flag” laws are thought to be the “go to legislation” for the presumed mentally unstable of society that could resort to violence against themselves or others. These laws would potentially allow thousands of innocent citizens to be punished only upon the fear that a crime might be committed. Secret lists of innocent people would be created by family, acquaintances and potentially disgruntled ex-lovers or spouses.
Anyone who can approach a judge with a claim that someone is thought to be a danger to themselves or others can send the sheriff to disarm and confiscate the alleged offender’s weapons. Those identified as mentally ill are punished without having committed a crime and all this action taken without a shred of evidence of unlawful behavior. This legislation flies in the face of being presumed innocence which, until now, has been the backbone of the judicial system.
“Red flag” laws are based entirely upon the assumption that someone may commit a crime rather than someone has committed a crime. The thought is that if citizens disarm enough, the supposed perpetrator will be disarmed before they commit a crime. Their speech or behavior is viewed a red flag for violence. Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong and Fidel Castro, who were all socialists, would have loved such laws. They could have labeled and disarmed their opposition before they did anything.
“Under Colorado’s proposed law, anyone can make a phone call to the police. They don’t even have to be living in the state. There is no hearing. All the judge has before them is the statement of concern,” according to the article “The Folly of ‘Red Flag’ gun laws,” in the June 17, 2019, issue of The Washington Times. Moreover, “little certainty is needed. Some states allow initial confiscations on just a ‘reasonable suspicion,’ which is little more than a guess or a hunch,” according to the article. In just nine months of Florida’s red flag law passage last year, “judges granted more than 1,000 confiscation orders. In the three months after Maryland’s law went into effect Oct. 1, more than 300 people had their guns taken away,” In Anne Arundel County, “a 61-year-old man died when the police stormed his home at 5 a.m. to take away his guns,” according to the article.
The biggest problem with red flag evaluations is that they happen “ex parte,” without the defendant present to defend themselves. Due process, which is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights in three places, is denied. If “ex parte,” a second hearing is scheduled, some weeks later, where the defendant must provide evidence proving his innocence, according to U.S. and Texas LawShield blog at www.uslawshield.com. The defendant must prove themselves innocent of something that they never did, nor probably thought of doing, but was previously punished for by the forcible confiscation of their weapons. The nation is dangerously close to destroying the backbone of its judicial system, the presumption of innocence.
Some people may remember going down a similar path with Japanese-Americans many years ago. More than 110,000 people were feared to be potentially dangerous in World War II, and thus, they were rounded up in secret raids throughout western states and placed in “relocation camps.” No crimes had been committed, and the United States later had to pay reparations to descendants for this injustice.
Both mass murderers appear to be politically motivated. El Paso mass shooter and Trump supporter Patrick Crusius, 21, traveled 650 miles to target a community at least 80% Hispanic for his victims. Far left Dayton, Ohio, mass shooter and Sen. Elizabeth Warren supporter Connor Betts, 24, worshiped Antifa and hated Immigration and Custom Enforcement. Both the far left and the far right think the other is crazy and capable of violence which is the foundation for red flag laws. Both sides want the power of government to remove the other.
An ominous cloud hangs over America if its citizens flood authorities with calls to take away the gun rights of the other. Historically, the government is happy to do both. El Paso and Dayton may be equivalents to Fort Sumter in the Civil War.
LibertyUnderFire has already published how red flag laws violate, not only the Second Amendment, but the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendments as well. It essentially emasculates the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. Trump cannot support red flag laws and the Constitution simultaneously.
Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and to applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.