This past October, Stephen Nichols, an 84-year-old Korean War veteran, former police officer, and current school crossing guard, was the victim of the flawed fed flag law mentality. Mr. Nichols’ offense? He was overheard, and misquoted, by a waitress in an Oak Bluff, MA, diner. Mr. Nichols, speaking with a friend, complained of the local school’s security officers leaving for coffee while the school children were unattended. Mr. Nichols complained that anybody could “shoot up the school” while security officers took breaks. Subsequently, and on the word of the waitress who overheard his statement, Mr. Nichols had his licensed and registered firearms seized and was immediately fired from his position as a crossing guard. Mr. Nichols had his 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendment rights essentially revoked.
If we assume, for the sake of argument, that Mr. Nichols’ accuser acted in good faith, what does his predicament say about the potential for people acting in bad faith? How many ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-husbands, or ex-wives can easily abuse red flag laws? How many constitutional rights are red flag law proponents willing to submit to arbitrary review by judges? What if red flag laws were applied to other situations of life or death, say abortion? Proponents of red flags laws regarding 2nd Amendment rights argue, absent evidence, that without them someone may die. If we applied the same reasoning to abortion rights, absent red flag laws for abortion, someone will die.Note that the emphasis is mine. But the question is a reasonable one. You may not agree with my Second Amendment rights, but then, how will you feel if your so-called abortion rights are similarly restricted by a judge on the say so of some member of the public who doesn't know you, or your situation. How about an eaves dropping waiter who overhears a portion of what you say and then filters it through his own prejudices and then reports it to a judge, who then issues an ex parte order against your abortion. Suddenly, at 5 am you are awakened to a SWAT team delivering a judicial order with deadly force.
It is also not too far to think that perhaps the purpose of red flag laws against firearm owners are intended to set a precedent that may be used later to eliminate or negate the rest of the Bill of Rights. Firearm owners are a minority. But then, so are all the other people for whom the Constitution protects their rights. The smallest minority is one, but even that one has certain unalienable rights. Even if you do not particularly agree with firearm owners, you should understand that if we do not all hang together, surely we will all hang apart.
Martin Neimoller (read about him here) was a Lutheran Pastor who came to understand the Nazi regime as a dictatorship. He is credited with the famous quote "First they came for the communists, but I wasn't a communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Jews ...then they came for me" In the United States, Neimoller might have made his quotation read "First they came for gun owners, but I wasn't a gun owner, so said nothing."
Think about it.