Time to Pay Attention: Democrats and Republicans Joining Forces to Push Gun Confiscation
Time to Pay Attention: Democrats and Republicans Joining Forces to Push Gun Confiscation from The Free Thought Project
Red flag laws have a history of bipartisan support. And when any piece of legislation has Democrats and Republicans locking arms in agreement, you know trouble lies ahead.
Is gun confiscation coming to Congress?
The 2018 midterm elections produced a split Congress with Democrats gaining control of the House and Republicans gaining seats in the Senate.
The chattering DC classes are already speculating about the Democrats’ plans to subpoena Trump’s tax records and Senate Republicans’ moves to consolidate their hold of the federal judiciary. But amid the DC gossip, a new threat is being overlooked—red flag gun confiscation orders.
The Guardian detailed House Democrats’ desire to pass gun control legislation in the upcoming Congress:
Ted Deutch, a Democratic congressman from Florida who represents Parkland, where a February school shooting left 17 dead, said this week that he expected House Democrats to focus on bills with more bipartisan support. Those measures included bump stock bans and “extreme risk protection orders”, also known as red flag laws, which give law enforcement and family members a way to petition a court to temporarily bar an unstable person from buying or owning guns.
With the cries for gun control growing stronger, the federal government may finally give in to public pressure to “do something.” Red flag laws might just be the “come together” moment establishment politicians have been looking for.
What Are Red Flag Laws?
Red flag laws, or Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), are the euphemistic label for the gun control push du jour blazing across the nation. Under red flag laws, law enforcement has the ability to confiscate an individual’s firearms if they are deemed a threat to themselves or others. A simple accusation from a family member, friend, or associate will suffice to seize someone’s firearms.
These laws, mind you, operate in complete violation of due process. Individuals can take their accusers to court even though the defendant in question has never been charged with or convicted of a crime. Additionally, the defendant could have their weapons confiscated without even so much as a hearing before a judge. It could take months before a gun owner would have to appear in court to win back his gun rights.
Thirteen states currently have red flag laws on the books, with dozens more filing their own versions. What started out as a state-level movement may have some legs at the federal level. Although it’s true that Congressional Democrats are making gun control a major theme of their legislative agenda, it’s naïve to think red flag laws are only relevant because “gun-grabbing” Democrats have taken power.
As we’ll see below, red flag laws have a history of bipartisan support. And when any piece of legislation has Democrats and Republicans locking arms in agreement, you know trouble lies ahead.
The Gun Control Bipartisan Status Quo
Despite their passionate campaign rhetoric, a significant portion of Republican politicians will change colors on gun rights once in DC. Several GOP members in the upcoming Congress stick out like a sore thumb when it comes to their gun control advocacy.
Lindsay Graham: The South Carolina senator already introduced a red flag bill earlier this year. With the 116th Congress right around the corner, Graham will likely reach across the aisle with Democrat colleagues to move red flag legislation forward. Graham has opined that red flag legislation is the “place where we begin a long-overdue discussion about firearms and mental health. But we must start.”
Marco Rubio: Following the Parkland shootings, Rubio joined the gun control chorus by sponsoring a red flag bill along with Democrat Senators Joe Manchin, Bill Nelson, & Jack Reed. Rubio has even flirted with the idea of regulations on magazine clips, raising the minimum age to buy certain firearms like AR-15s, and tweaking the current background check system.
Mitt Romney: The incoming Utah senator has an anti-gun record as governor of Massachusetts. As governor, Romney signed an assault weapons ban into law in 2004. In political fashion, Romney obscured his anti-gun act by turning to pro-Second Amendment platitudes during both of his presidential runs in 2008 and 2012. In a 2007 statement, Romney expressed that he does not “support any new gun laws including any new ban on semi-automatic firearms.” Nevertheless, the fallout from the recent Parkland shooting has made Romney reconsider the validity of enhanced background checks.
Rick Scott: Former governor of Florida and Florida’s new senator, Rick Scott, poses an interesting threat to gun rights. Despite his ostensibly pro-gun rhetoric, Scott signed SB 7026, Florida’s most expansive gun control measure in recent history. Pressured by the outrage over the Parkland School shooting, Scott’s SB 7026 contains red flag provisions, raises the age to buy a firearm to 21, and imposes a three-day waiting period for all firearms purchases.