Ron Paul Calls Out Red Flag Laws

Ron Paul puts “conservatives” on blast for supporting red flag gun confiscation orders.

In an article for The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity, the former congressman notes that a “common trick of big-government loving politicians is to give legislation names so appealing that it seems no reasonable person could oppose it.” However, the former Congressman points out that certain pieces of legislation have had harmless titles like the“PATRIOT Act” and the “Access to Affordable and Quality Care Act”, but have proven to be complete disasters.

With regards to gun control, Paul highlights the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. Based on the title alone, most people would agree with this law’s intent. Who doesn’t want to stop domestic violence? However, the devil is in the details. The former Congressman explains that the Violence Against Women Act “provides federal grants to, and imposes federal mandates on, state and local governments with the goal of increasing arrests, prosecutions, and convictions of those who commit domestic violence.”

In his view, the Violence Against Women Act is unconstitutional. Paul states that the “Constitution limits federal jurisdiction to three crimes: counterfeiting, treason, and piracy. All other crimes — including domestic violence — are strictly state and local matters.”

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But where this law gets juicy is when it deals with gun rights. Under this law, anyone with a restraining order placed on them by a spouse or domestic partner is prohibited from owning a gun. For Paul, this is a “blatant violation of the Second Amendment’s prohibition on federal laws denying anyone the right to own a gun.” Instead, Paul argues that only state and local officials can determine if “someone subject to a restraining order, or convicted of a violent crime” can be stripped of their gun rights.

At the very least, the current law still mandates that due process be respected before the government can take away someone’s Second Amendment rights. However, the U.S. House passed new legislation reauthorizing and adding changes to the Violence Against Women Act. One of the most bone-chilling aspects about this law is that people’s Second Amendments rights can be striped based on flimsily allegations that an individual engaged in domestic violence. In essence, an individual’s Second Amendment rights vanish “without even having an opportunity to tell their side of the story to a judge.”

This iteration of “red flag” laws has gained traction among the political class. They’re not just supported by seasoned leftists like Diane Feinstein or establishment Republicans like Lindsey Graham, but also by supposed constitutional conservatives” like Senator Ted Cruz. BLP reported on Cruz’s recent flirtation with red flag gun laws.

Red flag laws have already led to dangerous confrontations between police officers and citizens who assumed that the law enforcement at the door were people trying to break into their house. This was most apparent in Maryland when police shot and killed 61-year-old Gary Willis when trying to serve him a red flag gun confiscation order.

On top of that, this House bill expands red flag laws to cover those accused of “misdemeanor stalking.” In numerous jurisdictions, misdemeanor stalking can include “cyber” or online stalking. So if someone sends an “offensive” message on Twitter or Facebook, they could lose their Second Amendment rights. This could set new precedents for hate speech regulation and open the doors for online censorship.

However, proponents of this bill attack those who raise concerns about civil liberties violations and smear them as being pro-domestic violence.

For Paul, this could not be further from the truth. He concluded his article with the following message:

All decent people oppose domestic violence and terrorism. However, the desire to catch and punish wrongdoers does not justify violating the Constitution or denying anyone due process. When government violates the rights of anyone it threatens the liberties of everyone.

As the days go by, this message needs to be re-iterated. Red flag laws have unfortunately attracted bipartisan attention. Any piece of legislation where both sides of the establishment come to agreement on will likely entail a gross violation of our civil liberties.