Red Flag laws have been in the news since the tragic shootings at Parkland Highschool in 2018. Liberal states such as Maryland have passed them. Purplish states like Florida have too. Tennessee has strongly considered them. RINO Steve Dickerson wrote an Op-ed in The Tennessean November 30, 2018 in which he stated his support for these laws.
Red flag laws empower us to be proactive in preventing gun violence while containing robust due process protections to ensure a person’s access to guns is limited only when a court finds there is clear and convincing evidence these individuals present a risk to themselves or others.
Senator Steve Dickerson, RINO, The Tennessean
“Empower.” That’s such a lovely sounding word. Empower is one of those words that sounds so gratifyingly positive that it is nearly impossible to oppose. It’s right up there with “love,” “for the children,” “hope,” and “change.” It is vague enough to mean whatever the reader wants it to mean.
So what do Red Flag laws empower people to do? In an ideal, best case scenario, they would allow a well-intentioned person to call perfect-police to report a deranged potential shooter. In lockstep, everyone would then appear before a flawless judge to discuss the intentions of the potential shooter, who is unaware all of this is going on, to make a determination as to whether or not the police will be sent to forcibly take the potential shooter’s guns away.
If this flawless judge thinks that the “potential shooter” he has never seen in person is indeed unworthy of their birthright, an order is issued by the court that the police take this person’s guns away.
Up to this point, we’ve already had a person accused and convicted. This person hasn’t had the chance to face their accuser or to defend themselves in court. That is a terrible abridgment of due process, but believe it or not things get worse.
Things gets worse because in order to take someone’s guns away you have to be prepared to use violent force. Red Flag laws aren’t enforced by an unarmed mail carrier, a census taker, or the dog catcher. You don’t get a letter in the mail informing you that you have 15 days to drop your firearms off at the local Comcast store or late charges will be accrued. The police don’t send you a Facebook message telling you to meet them at the Red Flag Pole by the local precinct headquarters.
No. To get your guns the police are going to show up at your house early in the morning. Most likely, these will be SWAT members or a Tactical Team. They’re going to kick your door down unannounced and then they are going to secure your home, room by room. If you resist not knowing who they are, they’re going to shoot you. They’re going to shoot your dog. They’re going to end any resistance with extreme prejudice, because they want to go home at the end of the day.
If this seems extreme, consider that it has already happened. CBS Baltimore WJZ 13 reported on November 5, 2018 that 61 year old Gary J. Willis was killed during the execution of an “Extreme Risk Protection Order.”
Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO). Red Flag. Terms designed to soothe the minds of the simple-minded.
This is what Steve Dickerson thinks it looks like to “empower.” But Gary Willis is dead because of a judicial ruling against him that he wasn’t even aware of. He was dead as soon as a judge affixed their signature to the ERPO.
There is nothing in the Constitution that allows rights to be taken away without due process, and there is nothing remotely resembling due process in any Red Flag law this country has seen.
The scenario we described above was a best case scenario, except for the ending. We’d be lying if we said every execution of an ERPO ended in a fatality. But let’s examine each step of the process, and let’s see if there are any other areas things might not go well.
First, let’s look at the people bringing the complaint to the police. Who has standing to do this? Well, nearly anyone. A jilted girlfriend. A teacher at school. A coworker who hates your guts. There is extreme potential for abuse in the complaint phrase of this process. Don’t do what we’re about to say – this is to make a point. If Tennessee got a Red Flag law, it is likely that any Tennessean would be able to get an ERPO against Steve Dickerson himself.
Red Flag laws are so emotionally based and fly so much in the face of due process that they beg crazy people to abuse them. If Tennessee gets a Red Flag law, it is simply adding another type of crazy to the mix. Empowering.
Next, let’s look at the police force that will take the complaint. There are a lot of good police officers in Tennessee. Are they all perfect? Are there any that are agenda driven? The answer to all these questions is “Yes!” All of our cops aren’t perfect. But even if they were perfect, they wouldn’t be after an ERPO was executed on their watch. At that point, they would be a legitimate enemy of the constitution and of every Tennessean. Red Flag laws turn good cops into criminals.
What about the judge? How can a judge issue a ruling against someone they haven’t been able to have into their court room? We’re not talking about a ruling in abstentia due to mitigating circumstances. Far from it. We’re talking about a ruling that purposefully excludes the accused. Any judge that would take these laws seriously is a bad judge. A criminal.
We believe all ERPO’s are unconstitutional. But for the sake of argument, let’s set that aside. If ERPO’s could pass constitutional muster, what would happen if someone was falsely accused? After all, the burden of proof to get an ERPO is incredibly low. This is a high speed low drag scenario – children’s live are at stake! What happens to the accused is a secondary consideration when it comes to protecting innocent people. Laughable, isn’t it?
In the Red Flag laws we have read, there simply aren’t any mechanisms in place to punish those who make false accusations. There is zero drawback to doing so. The greatest risk to someone simply out to get you is from filing a false police report.
Where man’s law is silent, we thankfully have the word of God.
And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;Deuteronomy 19.18-19 KJV
Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.
It is amazing that lawmakers can write laws and seemingly ignore bad actors abusing them. The LORD, in His infinite wisdom, did not. In fact, His word teaches that false accusers – perjurers – are to be treated as harshly as those guilty of the actual accusations they make.
Red Flag laws are unconstitutional and and unbliblical. Lawmakers who support them are too. Tennesseans should oppose Steve Dickerson and other lawmakers who propose Red Flag Laws with all their might.