So, Let’s Talk About Red Flag Laws…
Ciara Anderson | June 21, 2022
Since the beginning of 2022, more than 250 mass shootings have occurred in the United States. These all happened in under the span of 161 days.
Yeah, 161 days. Let that sink in.
In light of the recent mass shootings in Uvalde, TX, and Buffalo, NY, the latest topic on the table for government officials has been the implementation of better gun control and “red flag laws”. But, with all this talk about gun reform, no one has adequately broken down exactly what “red flag laws” mean for American citizens, and why Republican leaders are so against them being passed.
So, let's talk about it.
What is Red Flag Laws?
According to Everytown Research & Policy, Red Flags Laws (also known as “Extreme Risk Laws”) is defined as, “allowing loved ones or law enforcement to intervene by petitioning a court for an order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing guns/firearms.” These laws were initially proposed with the idea in mind to de-escalate emergency situations and preventing tragedies involving gun violence.
Only a few states have properly implemented these laws in the past, and they typically only allow family members or law enforcement to petition the court (with a couple of exceptions). But that, of course, is for when you’re able to detect early signs of potential violence from the individual in question. This also means that all necessary procedural safeguards are in place to ensure that no firearm is removed without due process.
What this means for American Citizens
Simply, this just means that in the event that a loved one believes that you are an active danger to yourself or others, they can go through the process of ensuring that you are unable to get your hands on any kind of firearm. This does not affect the overall ability to purchase and use a firearm, this just hinders those who are considered a potential danger to some degree.
The Pros and Cons
So, what are some of the pros and cons associated with Red Flag Laws?
Pros: A judge can order the temporary removal of guns from an individual with proper evidence. This has been proven to save numerous lives, especially in the case of larger potential threats on violence.
However, many oppose these laws for the following reasons:
Some argue that there's no explicit evidence that proves that these laws prevent mass shootings from occurring
These laws do little to help those actually in crisis, only preventing them from harming others
The process of getting a protection order can be a hefty task
Why is it such an issue now?
Now that we’ve taken a deeper dive into what exactly Red Flag Laws are, the new question on the table is why are Senate Republicans so against having these laws passed at a Federal level? Simple - many state senators believe that this is going to be a direct violation of due process and that, by implementing these laws, government officials are disrespecting one of the basic liberties granted to an American Citizen. Additionally, senators have mentioned in talks on Capitol Hill that they believe that laws mandating the usage of guns is a violation of the second amendment of the United States Constitution. For a quick reference, the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms. Many conservative Republicans refuse to sign onto the bi-partisan agreement creating a federal level Red Flag Law solely based on their assumptions that this violates their rights.
These laws can be a little hard to understand right off the bat, especially when you don't know much about search warrants and court orders. However, it isn't that hard to do a little research on the topic (such as this post) and take note of the pros and cons of the implementation of these laws. They are not necessarily a bad thing, and if one took time to research and form their own opinions, it would better many conversations involving these laws and others like it.
That being said, this manic gun culture needs to be put to an end. Women and children are dying. Minority groups are dying. Gun violence in America has become an epidemic in itself, and has led to a Domestic National Terrorism Alert being announced and placed in effect. This cannot be the land of the free if the people that make up this country cannot go shopping or pursue an education without fear of getting murdered like animals and not making it home.