The latest attempt at an end run around the second amendment, Extreme Risk Protection Orders (also call Red Flag laws) sound like a good idea. How can you argue with the idea of removing guns form dangerous people or potentially dangerous people. As usual the devil is in the details.
“While the idea for these laws is reasonable, some statutes are not,” Independent Institute Research Director Dave Kopel pointed out in his testimony to the [Senate Judiciary] committee. “They destroy due process of law, endanger law enforcement and the public, and can be handy tools for stalkers and abusers to disarm the innocent victims.”
It is an old story, that the government solution to any problem is to expand the power of the government, reduce liberty and erode the Bill of Rights. Attempting to confiscate a person’s weapons without any sort of investigation and without giving them a chance to give their side of the story, creates a extremely tense situation that can easily turn ugly.
Then there’s a practical public safety concern that stems from laws like this. It’s just one reason that sheriffs in several states don’t want to enforce these orders: When you take people’s rights away without giving them a chance to even show up in court and defend themselves, they might react adversely, endangering both law enforcement and the gun owners. Several law enforcement officials in Colorado have recently said that they will not enforce the state’s proposed red flag legislation if it becomes law.
Under the newer model for these laws being pushed by gun control organizations, Kopel explains, confiscation orders trigger “automatic, no-notice, surprise confiscation.” This system already claimed the life of a 61-year-old Maryland man last year after the cops showed up for a surprise confiscation just after five in the morning.