The article is dedicated to the so-called red flag law, which has become n effective means of fighting gun violence and protecting the public in the United States. These laws are gaining popularity because they enable law enforcement agencies to impose limitations on the arms holders. Thus, they potentially decrease the number of accidents caused by a weapon. The article provides the historical background of red flags across Florida, Connecticut, Indiana, and California and examines the cases that occurred under the influence of these laws (Gay, 2020). It also explores how the federal courts apply these legislations.
Key Findings and Issues
All four Florida residents had their guns taken away by judges following the red flag law due to the accident with the shooting. The state passed a new policy three weeks after authorities said a man with mental disorders killed 17 people during a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018 (Gay, 2020). After that and several other similar cases, a series of states decided to implement a new policy against the burgeoning issues of gun violence.
The red flag law differentiates from state to state; however, their mechanism is similar – to ensure public safety and control gun possession. As a result of the policy implementation, it was established that it has some flaws regarding the temporary confiscation of an individual’s firearms pending any notification or due process. Critics have also identified that the new law may limit one’s rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
There were two landmark cases aimed to reduce gun violence and prevent the mentally ill from possessing weapons that caused the popularity of the red flag law. In 1999, Connecticut was the first to pass a red flag law after a brutal shooting at the Connecticut lottery (Gay, 2020). It was followed by Indiana, which passed its law after an Indianapolis police officer was fatally shot by a mentally unstable man in 2005 (Gay, 2020). California was the first state to pass a warning law allowing family members to apply to the courts to seize guns from people considered a threat after Elliot Rodger carried out a mass shooting in Isla Vista, California (Gay, 2020). California law also allows law enforcement officers to petition for the seizure of weapons from a person for up to twelve months.
In the section “How Courts Should Analyze Second Amendment Challenges to Red Flag Laws,” the author provides several recommendations regarding the new laws’ implementations. Due to the Second Amendment, the laws are likely to be challenged in the courts (Gay, 2020). However, they should continue to analyze this amendment to make red flags a reliable legal practice. There should be a two-step approach that will resolve the dispute regarding this legislative policy. The courts must evaluate the eligibility of red flags in regulating the conduct of weapon holders within the framework of the first step (Gay, 2020). The second stage presumes an interim check; yet, the former one can be enough to solve the issue.
There are several reasons why this approach is needed. Firstly, the Second Amendment applies to all residents, not considering differentiating individuals into sub-groups who can possess guns. Thus, there is no historical evidence prohibiting the mentally ill from storing weapons. Second, presumptions must be reputable and not presumably lawful. Third, the “safe harbor approach” is likely to be troublesome because it eliminates citizens’ rights related to the Second Amendment (Gay, 2020). Hence, the author recommends that all the courts consider the red flag law as a policy protected by the Bill of Rights (Gay, 2020). Under such conditions, the courts will be able to address the growing public health problem and ensure that citizens can assert their rights.
The discussion posts summarize the main point of the article and provide several curious details about the policy. For instance, the red flag law allows families to report strange or dangerous behavior as applicants. However, it may contradict the Constitution and the Second Amendment. The author of the first post provided an example of herself washing off the red paint when she was noticed by a police officer who thought she was covered in blood. Therefore, the red flag law remains a controversial issue when it comes to petitioning against someone holding a gun at home.
The other post claims that regardless of that, the prevention laws are aimed at the temporary seizure of weapons and prohibit future purchases of firearms. They are forbidden to persons who have been identified as a threat and pose a significant risk of harm to themselves or society. The author has a positive opinion about the policy since it helps save lives and does not take away any rights. To revise both sides of the red flag law, the posts’ writers give examples of shootings that occurred in different states and their consequences.
Application to the Current Policy Issue
The article finds practical applications to the current policy issue, which is gun control. The study provides a thorough revision of the red flag law, which in a certain way, limits the Second Amendment rights of citizens (Gay, 2020). In addition, the historical analysis is increasingly profound since it allows for identifying the policy roots and its formation process. In case there are some court disputes, the origins of the law may help to resolve the problem.
In this regard, supporters of restrictive measures suggest that the situation with the death of people from firearms will only worsen under the current administration. Nevertheless, attempts to cope with the proliferation of deadly weapons continue. In October 2017, Democrats from the Senate introduced a bill eliminating a loophole in the legislation that makes it easy to modify semi-automatic weapons. It allows their rate of fire to reach the indicators of automatic weapons.
In the face of widespread gun violence, the red flag law is a beneficial initiative allowing authorities to halt potential shooters and save individuals’ lives. The mass shootings of the 2000s and 2010s shocked the whole country (Gay, 2020). They considerably swung the pendulum of public opinion towards tightening control over the trade and possession of firearms in the United States. Hence, the article should be applied to the policy issue because it provides instructions and recommendations on mitigating the law’s consequences.
In sum, due to the growing number of Americans purchasing firearms for self-protection, there is a burgeoning need to solidify gun control policies. The red flag law aims to change individuals’ conduct and protect their lives. Hence, it should be viewed as a peaceful policy that does not point at limiting people’s rights. The article gives an insight into how this perception may be changed in a two-step approach.
Gay, C. (2020). “Red flag” laws: How law enforcement’s controversial new tool to reduce mass shootings fits within current Second Amendment jurisprudence. Boston College Law Review, 61(4), 1491-1534. Web.