top of page

Republican support for "Red Flags" show a bigger problem: Both sides want more government power

This weekend, I spent some time reading through Senator Marco Rubio's bill to create a Federal "Red Flag" law.

The "Threat Assessment, Prevention, and Safety Act of 2019," opens the door to massive intrusion into our natural rights as human beings to defend ourselves; whether it be against a home invader, or (as the founding fathers intended), a tyrannical government.

Rubio's bill establishes "a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, and multi-jurisdictional behavioral threat assessment and management process on a Federal, State, local, and Tribal level."

Here's the idea- We've seen far too many mass-shootings in recent years across the United States. Some of these mass shootings, a very small amount, could have perhaps been prevented. Shooters like the individual in Parkland, and recently the individual in El Paso, showed some signs of potential violent threats on innocent members of the public. The aim of a "Red Flag" law is to take these possibilities for violence into consideration, and consider confiscating all firearms from those individuals, or ban them from purchasing any firearms for an indefinite future.

On their surface, laws like this serve as a device much needed for a grieving public: change, and the promise of a safer tomorrow for our children. They also serve as a much needed device for do-gooder politicians: The perception that you are doing something to stop future violence.

2nd Amendment

The danger of a "Red Flag" law is pretty clear to advocates of the 2nd Amendment. These types of laws are in direct violation of the constitution. It is the right of the people to keep and bear arms, plain and simple.

Over the years, we have mostly agreed on one exception. If you are guilty of a felony, you no longer have the right to purchase a firearm. As a Libertarian, I still see many problems with this exception taken with our basic human rights, but we'll leave that fight for another day.

The bill put forward establishes a system resembling that of a "restraining order." It is true, that your rights must be taken into account. Due Process must be followed, and a judge must issue the order.

Rather than go down the road of taking apart the nuances of a Red Flag, I'd rather look at this from a different perspective.

To me, the support for this type of law gives a glimpse into the reason we have seen nothing but growth out of the federal government for a century.

If you watch left-leaning media, you'll see a pretty common theme. "Donald Trump is a racist. He has be guilty of inciting hatred, and therefore guilty of inciting violence from fringe groups in the U.S. If you openly support Donald Trump, or certain Fox News anchors, you are now conflated as complicit in these facts, and their results. If you support the Republican party, you are racist. If you support Tucker Carlson, you are racist. If you support Trump, you hate immigrants. Trump believes these people are "invaders," and therefore, you do too. Trump is a White Supremacist. If you support the Republican party, then you are too."

This isn't the first time Republicans have been lumped together and called racists, and I'm sure it won't be the last. In addition to that, we've seen nearly all political commentators on the right, and in the Libertarian party called racists, determined to incite hatred and violence among the masses.

Herein lies the problem. If the government can take your guns because you are a threat to society, how do you create a fail-safe that stops the next liberal president from using this against people that are purely only speaking conservative ideas? If the rhetoric of the Republican party is responsible for the shooting in El Paso, how can you promise me that someday that rhetoric will be all that is necessary to bring before a judge and remove your 2nd Amendment rights?

The Patriot Act is a great example of the dangerous track this may lead to. Under the act, law enforcement agencies were able to take claims before a secret court (FISA), and present reasoning for wire taps. On the warrant, the name could simply say "Verizon." How much further towards a tyrannical federal government do we need to move before "Verizon" can be replaced with "Republican?" How long before we create a separate court for expediency to administer these red flag provisions?

Back to the bigger issue

Today we are dealing with a faulty mindset. That mindset states that the government knows best what to do for your life than you. That mindset states that as long as we keep the right people in power, these laws will fix all the problems we aim to fix. Normally, I'd place this mindset on those on the left. These individuals believe that the federal government should be tasked with organizing the healthcare industry, the insurance industry, the banking and financial sector, the food we eat, the drugs we take, the cars we drive, so on and so forth. Normally, those on the "right" would argue for a smaller government. Citing the fact that the government cannot be trusted with such an enormous responsibility.

Republicans are doing with gun control, what Democrats do with economics. They are trusting that they can implement a system, and all that is necessary afterwards is to make sure we keep the right people in power. We must keep the right people in power because we've given the government a massive responsibility, and it must not be left to those who wish to use that power to take rights from others.

What I would say to a Republican like Senator Marco Rubio, or even Representative Dan Crenshaw, is that you cannot trust the federal government 20 years from now to be controlled by angels. They both acknowledge the fact that this power is dangerous, and must not be abused. They both have acknowledged in the past that the federal government has gone too far with previous laws that were meant to help those in need. Yet they both think it's a good idea to give the federal government the power to remove a weapon from someone that has not been found guilty of a crime against another.

Republicans present a look at something that's dangerous for the future of the nation. The idea that "our guy" can have as much power as he wants. We can make laws to ensure safety, even if they contradict the constitution, because "we" have the power, and "we" would never abuse that power.

Republicans showcase the fact that we are in trouble. Our natural rights are under attack from both sides. Stay principled people.

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."