Calls For Red Flag Laws & “Hate Site” Restrictions Pushes Liberty’s Back Against The Wall (OP-ED)

Calls For Red Flag Laws & “Hate Site” Restrictions Pushes Liberty’s Back Against The Wall (OP-ED)

On Sunday, Lindsey Graham was discussing new potential gun laws as well as restrictions on “hate sites”. Since the most recent mass shootings, it seems the only solution the government has come up with is to either blame the weapon, or the newest fad, blame internet hate.

When it comes to red flag laws, politicians and news media act as if it’s common sense. Not many are asking the most basic questions regarding how sensible this really is.

The first question to ask is: What are red flag laws?

The lawful name for this set of legislation is, Extreme Risk Protective Order. According to Maryland Courts,

“An Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) is a court-issued civil order temporarily requiring a person to:

  • Surrender any firearms or ammunition to law enforcement; and
  • Not purchase or possess firearms or ammunition,

With reasonable belief that a person meets the requirements, an ERPO allows the court to refer someone for an emergency evaluation due to mental disorder.”

They go on to describe the factors that show possible risk as:

  • Alarming behavior and statements;
  • Unlawful firearm possession;
  • Reckless or negligent firearm use;
  • Violence or threats of violence to self or others;
  • Violating peace or protective orders;
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse; and/or
  • Information contained in health records

The problem this legislation proposes is the lack of due process. Due process is one of the dearest things to the American judicial system, and it can be usurped under these new laws. Though you are not directly charged with a crime, you must give up your weapons on a moments notice without being allowed to defend yourself from the allegations. You, as the gun owner, are essentially guilty until you prove your innocence to the court. Our judicial system is built upon the belief that you are innocent until proven guilty and this legislation turns that ideology inside out.

What do the courts consider alarming behavior? Is it a man yelling at his child at home? Is it the frustrated employee who just got fired? Is it an emotional teenager who just broke up with his girlfriend? The point is, with such a broad standard, it can be misused and misconstrued easily. Anyone who dares let their emotions spill out are potentially in danger of getting their guns taken without proper recourse.

This law is based on someone’s random determination if you are a threat to others without you being able to defend yourself. Sure you do get your day in court at a later date, but the damage has already been done by the government’s overreach to take your property without 4th Amendment considerations.

It’s understandable that our governing leaders want to give us the impression of safety, but they must do it without trampling on our rights as American citizens. The government tries to act as if they can determine who will commit a crime before it happens, and their foresight is unmatchable.

Except for the instance of Parkland shooter, who was reported to the authorities and the FBI on numerous occasions, but was still allowed to roam free and thus shoot up his classmates. Even with the insight to know this man was a danger, they did nothing to stop it.

It seems as if the government is too incompetent to stop someone willing to commit a mass shooting, but yet we are supposed to believe that this set of laws will protect the people. Laws don’t work unless they are properly enforced and if we can’t trust the police and government to enforce the laws on the books, how can we have faith that they will enforce even more restrictive laws.

It seems that these red flag laws are more about security theater than anything else. Politicians need to show that they care about public safety so they enact laws to take away legally owned guns from citizens that haven’t been charged with a crime, rather than focus their efforts into the mental illness aspect of mass shootings or trying to get a handle on the illegal gun trade.

Politicians even attack the type of gun and use that as a smokescreen. The AR-15 argument is unauthentic and in reality, handguns account for the majority of shooting deaths in this country. Yet we are supposed to believe that banning “assault rifles” will create a utopia in which criminals won’t shoot innocent people. It would be nice if the politicians had the integrity and dignity to stand up and call for what they really want, and that is a ban on guns for all Americans. If you give the government an inch on your freedoms they will always take a mile.

Why is it that the average American always has to foot the burden for what a deranged person does? Why aren’t those responsible for these heinous acts held accountable instead of blaming the American who did nothing wrong? Why do innocent American’s get their freedom threatened for being a law abiding citizen? Maybe they should answer these questions first.

Another action politicians want to take is to start regulating “hate sites” on the internet. The first website that comes to mind is 8chan. Currently the website is down due to mainstream media’s belief that it harbors white supremacy ideology and that the El Paso shooter posted his manifesto directly to 8chan. 8chan lost it’s security technical support and thus can no longer be available until a company decides it will support the site.

The problem here is that it isn’t the websites fault that this lunatic shot up a Wal-Mart. He may have posted his manifesto on 8chan, but it doesn’t hold the website or the owner of the site liable for one man’s actions. Nor does it mean that those who post on the site should be affected and labeled as white supremacists for what one man’s actions caused.

We dare ask the question of why Facebook hasn’t been taken down due to the anti-police rhetoric and the constant live-streaming of shootings that occur? Are the people who watched those live-streams liable for helping promote the violence? One could make the leap that since 8chan is responsible for the El Paso shooting, then Facebook must be responsible for the violence that has occurred on their services.

The double standard is frightening. We, the writers of this website, don’t believe any website should be banished unless it is directly calling for violence. There will always be someone who writes or says something that is obscene, but they have the right to say it.

Who in the government will be in charge of determining what is a hateful website and what is not? Do we as citizens have the right to say what our opinion is, even if it’s mostly unpopular amongst our peers and government? Who’s to say Fox News isn’t hateful? Who’s to say CNN isn’t hateful?

As you can see, once the government starts regulating what can and cannot be read, heard, or seen, it is a slippery slope into darkness. In World War II, the Nazis burned books and art to destroy outside influence; today our government is trying to do the same with the internet.

We truly condemn any form of hateful rhetoric or actions against people due to race, religion, ethnicity, or any other differing factors amongst people. Unfortunately people have bad ideas and can share those negative ideologies across the world in the digital age we live in, but due to our Constitution you cannot silence them because you disagree with them.

America has been a special country where the best ideals have always prevailed. Where logic and reason have not succumb to fear and stupidity. We are the light bearers of this great nation; we cannot let other’s hate and fear dictate our freedoms afforded to us by the Constitution.

These issues need to be dealt with and there is no easy answer. Every problem is nuanced and needs special care and attention. Our representatives need to come up with a plan that doesn’t involve taking away our 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendment rights. They need to recognize that with proper education, a good family, and strong community support, most evil can be negated by the ideology of what America stands for.

Source: https://mdcourts.gov/district/ERPO#respondent

Author: 777 Media Source