The grisly events of May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman brutally murdered 19 children and two teachers, still occupy the center of public policy discussion. The so-called “solutions” that are being put forth to address the issues of mass shootings have been anything but rational.
For example, many lawmakers are calling for the passage of red flag gun confiscation orders. This has prompted elected officials like Thomas Massie to step up and oppose said legislative proposals.
In fact, the Kentucky Congressman pushed the envelope by teaming up with Nikki Goeser, the Executive Director of The Crime Prevention Research Center, to pen an op-ed titled “Red Flag Laws and Unintended Consequences“ at Real Clear Politics attacking the red flag proposals.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) May 27, 2022
Red flag laws empower judges to confiscate an individual’s firearms without a trial. This comes about with only a written complaint that the person might be allegedly a threat to themselves or other individuals.
All that a judge needs is “reasonable suspicion” to demand that a person’s firearms be confiscated. This complaint could come from just about anyone. Massie and Goeser noted that these complaints could “come from“a relative, friend, neighbor, or police officer,” which could prompt a judge to potentially take away a person’s firearms. Massie and Goeser added that “There is no ability to challenge claims or to offer testimony from a mental health care expert.”
One point the two authors call attention to is that people who have to fight red flag laws cases will likely incur massive legal fees thereby incentivizing people caught in a red flag legal battle to not see through their case.
The authors called attention to something many media pundits ignore:
People who truly pose a clear danger to themselves or others should be confined to a mental health facility or be required to seek treatment.
They added that “Laws used to confiscate guns are typically enforced when dealing with suicidal people.”
That said, someone who is willing to take their own life can do so through other methods. Confiscating firearms will do little to prevent these incidents.
The fact is that criminals can use other means such as explosives or even vehicles to carry out major atrocities against the innocent. Banning guns will do little to prevent these incidents. Massie and Goeser bring some much-needed realism to gun control discussions. The way we solve this problem is multi-pronged. Repealing gun-free zones and allow schools to set up their own security policies should be a first. On the mental health and social cohesion fronts, mental health must be revamped and schools must start implementing stronger disciplinary standards against problematic schools while also keeping tabs on students who demonstrate strange behavior.
None of this involves passing gun control. Unfortunately, there are very few politicians who will make the hard call and reject the constant push for gun control in the wake of mass shootings.