Sunday morning, I ran across a real WTF opinion column from University of Wisconsin student newspaper. I don’t expect much quality from student newspapers, but this call for “red flag” laws was…
Read it for yourself.
The red herring in the red flag debate: Conservative opposition to common sense gun control misses the point
A red flag law, proposed by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, aims to address these flags. It would allow family members and law enforcement to petition a judge, temporarily removing firearms from an individual who is a possible threat. Despite intense disagreement about the limits of the second amendment, red flag laws and universal background checks, among other proposed restrictions, are supported by a significant majority of Americans.
Why do we need the “red flag” ERPOs? Julia Brunson tries to explain that they’re to fix loopholes.
“Despite federal restrictions on gun ownership by convicted domestic abusers, the ban does not apply to those charged with misdemeanor domestic violence.”
WTF? 18 USC § 922(g)(9): “who has been convicted in any court of a MISDEMEANOR crime of domestic violence” (emphasis added)
Ms. Brunson is a senior, so she’s likely 21 or 22 years old. That means those convicted of domestic violence, felony or misdemeanor, have been prohibited persons for her entire life. How did a history major miss that bit of history?
“This loophole, among other vulnerabilities in the system, allowed the Sutherland Springs shooter to possess several firearms and kill 26 churchgoers in Texas last year.”
Again, WTF? The Sutherland Springs chumbucket had a felony-equivalent court-martial conviction for domestic violence, and had been involuntarily committed, both of which made him a prohibited person. The only “loophole” was that USAF failed to report him to NICS, an on-going problem for the DOD.
Now that we’ve established this “historian’s” lack of knowledge of recent history, let’s test the extent of her ignorance. I emailed her with a counter-proposal to ERPO laws.
Allow me to propose an alternative to “red flag” orders which only allow “due process” AFTER rights have been violated.
Let’s try a law that allows _anyone_ to call the police and tell them a person may be at risk. The responding officer could see the subject and make a determination that the person does seem to be dangerous and is empowered to take the subject to a hospital for evaluation for as much as 72 hours. During that period, the subject remains in custody, but has the right (just like an accused criminal) to legal representation.
If a doctor finds the person is at risk, he informs a judge. The judge then makes the final determination and, if the person is at risk, is so adjudicated and becomes a prohibited person who cannot possess firearms. The judge can specifically order the person surrender any firearms possessed. The subject is placed under appropriate treatment.
I find this scenario preferable to ERPOs in that 1) due process is protected throughout, and 2) the potentially dangerous subject is in custody WITHOUT weapons; whereas ERPOs merely take one class of weapons, and leave the dangerous person on the loose with anything he can get his hands on, from kitchen knives, to baseball bats, to cars.
Would you support my legal version?
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