Saturday, September 30, 2023

New Mexico today, Tennessee Tomorrow?

 Here is the text of my letter to the editor warning against Red Flag laws in Tennessee:

Gov. Michelle Grisham (D) of New Mexico ignited a firestorm with her suspension of the Constitution, when she, by executive fiat, announced a 30-day Second Amendment (2A) ban. Television footage shows her backed by Moms Demand Action activists; but various law enforcement officials and even the Democrat New Mexico attorney general have distanced themselves from her and voiced refusal to enforce her edict. A federal judge has already entered a temporary restraining order against this harebrained 2A abridgment.

Meanwhile, Tennessee gun owners dodged a bullet in the recent special legislative session called by Gov. Bill Lee (R?). Lee wanted a red flag law so badly that he spent millions of Tennesseans’ tax dollars on the session. It was an utter failure when the legislature refused to circle the drain with him and send the Bill of Rights to the sewer.

Civil commitment laws have been on the books in all 50 states for years. Civil commitment laws require a judicial proceeding in which the subject has an inter partes (both parties) hearing and has the opportunity to present his case. If the subject is found by the court to be a danger to self or others, he can be involuntarily committed for evaluation, limiting his risk to self or others.

Red flag or extreme risk protection orders (ERPO) laws, on the other hand, have been adopted by the gun ban industry as another means of depriving firearms owners of their property, incrementing toward their ultimate goal of a total gun ban.

Red flag laws would use ex-parte (only one party present) hearings to confiscate gun owners’ personal property. Their proponents have no interest in confiscating other potentially lethal property like cars, knives, matches, gasoline or flamethrowers. There is no trial, the subject of the hearing has no opportunity for defense in court proceedings. Thus, no Amendment VI opportunity to be confronted with the witnesses against him.

Red flag laws send police to citizens’ doors at o-dark-thirty with a civil procedure demand, and no Amendment IV protection — no warrant, no probable cause that a crime has been committed, no itemized description of places to be searched or things to be seized. Simply, “Give us your guns, or else!”

Amendment I is thrown out the window when the police come in the door. If the subject exercises his Amendments I and V rights by refusing to tell the police the location of any firearms, they will ransack the place searching for guns. When they walk out the door with his firearms, they deprive the subject of property without due process, dropping Amendments II and V in the trash can on the way out.

Once the property is taken, it is up to the subject to prove the negative (that he is not a danger), rather than have the judicial process prove the positive (that he is a danger). This comes at significant legal expense, which is a feature, not a bug, of red flag laws.

The Tennessee General Assembly will begin their next session in January, with many bills bound to be introduced that are designed to negate the 2A in one way or another. It is up to freedom loving Tennesseans to keep reminding their elected representatives that red flag laws are anathema to Tennessee and American values, including our Tennessee and U.S. Constitutions and the Bill of Rights.

We don’t need west coast refugees turning Tennessee into another California.


The letter was to the Cleveland (TN) Daily Banner. Here is the link, which may be behind a paywall:

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