Opinion: This Blatantly Unconstitutional New Law Begins Sunday
A new New Jersey law purports to be a way to take guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous people. There are a zillion ways it can backfire.
It’s called a “red flag law” and it takes effect this Sunday here in New Jersey. It allows courts to order the temporary removal of guns from people who are thought to be a danger to themselves or others. Who are the people who make the call on this? Police or family members.
What’s to stop an overzealous police officer or a family member with a grudge to claim that you’re a danger to yourself or to others? Who is going to be in charge of making sure these aren’t spurious claims? What is the evidence required to call someone a danger? Is it a feeling you have? A suspicion? Could it be nasty words expressed in anger during an argument?
Let’s say you have a crazy husband you’re separated from. And you happen to own a gun for your own protection. And he’s a meanie. He’s got a vendetta. What’s to stop him from claiming you’re a “danger to yourself or others” and getting your gun temporarily confiscated, just long enough to come over and do who knows what to you? Conveniently for him, you’re now defenseless. In what world does this make sense? And what interpretation of the 2nd amendment, (which basically guarantees you that a representative of the government can’t take away your gun) would provide for a representative of the government to take away your gun?
Bad stuff is going to happen, people. And there are some things that can’t be prevented; some problems that can’t be solved. If you want to stop people from shooting up schools, how about not reporting shootings in such a sensational way, thus giving the headline-craving lunatics the attention they want?
How about not stating after every shooting “Authorities are now concerned about copycats doing the same...” thus enticing every would-be copycat to do just that? Even if you think the “red flag law” is the answer (and I assure you, it’s not), a “temporary” confiscation means you’ll have your gun back soon. So if you have nefarious intentions, no problem. You’ll have it back soon enough. We already have plenty of safeguards in our gun laws. This is just too much.
Laws like these have been enacted as a knee-jerk response to recent mass shootings and exist in many states already. And they may make you feel good. But they are useless, and in fact, will probably do more harm than good.