The recent red flag law phenomena represent one of the newest fronts in the gun control battles popping up across the nation. Under these laws, government officials are granted the power to seize firearms from individuals who are considered potential threats. The catch is that these orders are carried out without any form of due process.
Although red flag laws are generally associated with blue states, some conservative states like Indiana were among the first few to implement such policies. Cam Edwards of the pro-Second Amendment website Bearing Arms notes that Indiana has had red flag laws in place since 2005. Now, a prosecutor in the state wants to overhaul the law.
Marion County District Attorney Ryan Mears claims that under the current law, a person who has had their firearms confiscated can still purchase a gun at a store while they appeal their case. He believes that this policy needs to change. The law in question, also known as the Jake Laird Law, gives law enforcement the authority to take an individual’s gun if they think that an individual is dangerous or mentally ill. Subsequently, a hearing is set within 14 days.
For Mears, this is not enough. Once the case goes to trial, Mears claims that the process can drag out for months, and during that time, a person can legally buy another gun. Instead, he proposes that the current red flag law be strengthened. “I think we need to have the courage to say it doesn’t make sense for this person to have the ability to purchase a firearm literally an hour later after they go through this stressful situation,” he stated.
It’s abundantly clear that a prosecutor like Mears doesn’t care about the constitutional right to due process. Indeed, the closing gap in the aforementioned law would make it easier to confiscate firearms from people, but the U.S. is a nation that respects civil liberties, not the political whims of do-gooder politicians. On top of that, red flag laws have proven to be ineffective at stopping crimes. Also, giving police increased power to strip people of their rights before a trial is conducted is a surefire way to open up a Pandora’s box of abuse. That’s the nature of unintended consequences of legislation.
Nonetheless, there are non-legislative means available to tackle the issue of gun violence. More proactive community policing in areas where it can be statistically determined that gun violence tends to take place, and the reconstruction of mental health infrastructure can function as alternatives to gun control — which is a civil liberties destroyer. We shouldn’t have to give up civil liberties to have safety.