Biden’s red flag law proposal threatens constitutional rights

People+across+the+country+continue+to+advocate+for+the+preservation+of+gun+rights+under+the+Second+Amendment.+Additional+pushback+can+be+seen+as+a+result+of+the+Biden-Harris+Administration%E2%80%99s+proposal+in+March.

Creative Commons image by Gage Skidmore

People across the country continue to advocate for the preservation of gun rights under the Second Amendment. Additional pushback can be seen as a result of the Biden-Harris Administration’s proposal in March.

The Biden-Harris Administration announced their six initial actions addressing gun violence in response to the recent mass shootings in Boulder, CO and Atlanta, GA. Among these steps is a model “red flag” legislation for states. This idea directly contradicts the Second Amendment and would prove useless in reducing gun violence.

Red flag laws would allow family members and law enforcement to request a court order temporarily seizing the firearms of an individual considered dangerous to themselves or others. However, the details concerning this process are still incredibly vague, leaving room for misuse of this practice.

When asked about his opinion regarding red flag laws, junior Trent Tillet explained he thinks the legislation would be a decent idea if the right to bear arms wasn’t guaranteed to Americans in their Constitution. 

“I think it’s starting to be infringed upon. As a Constitutional right, it needs to be protected,” Tillet added.

The Second Amendment states “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” This statement does not include any terms or conditions. It protects the entire spectrum of firearms, making all forms of gun control unconstitutional. Therefore, Biden must keep his red flag law out of Congress, as it defies the founding ideologies of the United States.

Biden announced his six-step plan in response to recent mass shootings, however, the real cause of these tragedies is far from the guns themselves. Senior Abby Cronk serves as the local Turning Point leader. Within this organization, members regularly educate themselves and others about the importance of the Second Amendment, as well as how it can be protected.

“I think mass shootings are less a gun control issue than they are a mental health and social issue. People don’t realize what a firearm is capable of,” Cronk commented.

According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Violence Prevention, 13,000 out of 15,000 firearms related children’s deaths between 2014 and 2018 were unintentional. These innocent children are not killed by firearms, rather, they are victims of inexperienced users. It can easily be seen that the solution to this issue is to implement widespread firearms safety training. This would greatly decrease the amount of gun related incidents within the United States while helping preserve constitutional rights.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

— Abby Cronk

Tillet often exercises his constitutional rights. He explained he is often in remote areas with wildlife, such as bears and mountain lions. Tillet feels he has had many experiences where he was more comfortable around someone who is trained to own a firearm, even within his own neighborhood.

Despite the media’s focus on newsworthy events like shootings and homicides, the majority of firearm owners peacefully utilise their rights through activities like hunting and target shooting. 

Officer Lindsey Paradise works within the school community. “I support people being safe, taking proper steps to carry their firearm, following laws, and understanding the laws associated with carrying,” she commented. 

In fact, Minnesota sheriffs reported those with conceal and carry permits are less likely to commit violent crime than those without. During 2020, less than 2% of crimes committed by those holding a permit included the use of a firearm according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s website. This can be attributed to their proper training with firearms. If applied on a larger scale, this could significantly decrease gun violence rates without overriding the Constitution.

Cronk responded to the mention of the red flag law, “The point of the Second Amendment is that you have a way to fight back against the government, and I don’t think the government should be tracking any firearms in general,” she passionately exclaimed.

Within the United States, 98% of mass shootings happen in designated gun-free zones. This is because shooters recognize people in these areas will be unarmed, making them a more desirable target. The Second Amendment allows potential victims to protect themselves. However, modern legislation has made it more difficult to do so. If red flag laws are passed at the state and federal levels, some citizens would be left defenseless and vulnerable.

While some argue that assault rifles and automatic weapons are unnecessary, these firearms are still constitutionally protected. In order to comply with rights outlined in the Constitution and decrease gun violence, widespread firearm education should be provided. Learning how to safely control a firearm is a crucial experience, even if an individual does not intend to use one. This could easily be offered within schools, or become a required course for students. Until this becomes a reality, educational classes are offered across the country, as they are a necessity for some hunting licenses. Constitutional gun rights can be protected from modern legislation through widespread firearm safety education.

“It is important to learn how to handle a gun, know what kinds of guns there are, like the different techniques, and how dangerous they are because it is important to know,” Cronk echoed.