Red flag laws, also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), have passed through a number of state legislatures across the country; Sen. Marco Rubio has a somewhat new legislative proposal titled the Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act. Sen. Lindsay Graham joined Sen. Richard Blumenthal to co-sponsor red flag legislation; even Rep. Dan Crenshaw has mentioned ERPOs for potential consideration.
There is nuance to be had here, for sure, but realize that it is an abrogation of due process to invert the order of “innocent until proven guilty” to “somewhat guilty until proven innocent.” The question isn’t whether these laws do this, the question is whether you feel comfortable giving up a cornerstone of our republic for a safety dependent upon enforcement by a government that has failed at this before…
None of this is to say that nothing can be done. To the contrary: I and others have spoken for some time about the need to ensure that the systems upon which we rely to stop heinous would-be criminals at the point of sale needs to be up-to-date with timely reporting of ineligible, violent cases. This problem was pushed into the national spotlight after the horrific murders at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where an evil prohibited possessor took the lives of 26 innocents and injured 20 others.
That murderer was convicted of domestic assault during a court-martial and thus ineligible to legally purchase or carry a gun before his spree. Yet because his record was not submitted to the federal database, the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which is referenced during a background check at the point of sale when purchasing a firearm, he was able to legally purchase firearms.