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The Executive Branch Must Act Within Its Authority


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Two-Tiered Justice and
Red Flag Laws

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Published in The Galveston County Daily News
June 16, 2022


With recent mass shootings, politicians are looking for solutions with a few of them attempting to balance their proposals against preserving 2nd Amendment rights. On August 28, 2019, we wrote a column about Red Flag Laws, cautioning about the unintended consequences of enacting such measures.  Red Flag laws are being considered again. 

These laws allow family members, law enforcement, and even disgruntled neighbors to petition for the temporary removal of firearms from an individual.  A judgment is then made whether a person is a serious risk of harming themselves or others with a gun.  If so, a denial order can be issued forcing the person to surrender firearms.

Within these laws is the vague phase “significant danger,” giving a broad discretion to seize weapons. Defendants are forced to take on the burden of proving they aren’t a “danger.”   They’re guilty unless they can prove they’re not likely to commit some “dangerous” act in the future. This, in itself, is a dangerous legal road to travel.  Even Donald Trump once said “Take the guns first, go through due process second.” This approach is ripe for governmental abuse, while the 2nd Amendment was written to guard against such an abuse of power by a central government. 

Putting this into the current political context:

- Do we want a Department of Justice (DOJ) – that sent FBI agents after parents they called “domestic terrorists” because they had the audacity to confront school boards over what their children were being taught – to have the power to haul law-abiding citizens into court for what they might do in the future?  

- Do we want them to arrest a person for Contempt of Congress by placing him in leg irons? 

- Do we want a sitting president to block granting tax exempt/non-profit status to groups that don’t agree with him? 

- Do we want a government which disregards immigration laws and to chooses not prosecute rioters in Portland and Seattle who caused hundreds of deaths and property destruction while holding others in solitary confinement for months on end for breaching the U.S. Capitol on January 6th? 

- Do we want a DOJ that refuses to arrest protestors who violate the current law against protesting at SCOTUS justice’s homes and then is surprised when a leftwing perp attempts to assassinate one of the justices, acting upon Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) incendiary rhetoric to those same justices about “there will be consequences” for striking down Roe v. Wade?

It's clear our nation currently has a two-tiered justice system which appears to be politically motivated. So, given this by way of a backdrop, do we really want to give the Federal government the authority to act under Red Flag laws?  We say no.  As we said in our August 28,2019 column, Red Flag laws should be approached with caution.  If they’re going to be enacted it should be at the state level where individuals have closer access to their elected officials.  Meanwhile, we support hardening soft targets like schools by providing armed/trained security.

 

About the Authors and Columnists
Bill Sargent and Mark Mansius

2022

Bill Sargent and Mark Mansius have written
over 250 guest columns since 2014 and continue to do so.
Bill lives in Galveston, Texas and Mark in St. Georges, Utah
.