In the wake of recent mass shootings in Florida and Texas, a number of states are considering laws that would make it harder for law abiding citizens to not only purchase weapons, but also keep the weapons they already own.
California lawmakers, not surprisingly, has been at the forefront of doing exactly the opposite, recently passing a bill that would make it easy for someone to petition the court to take away someone else’s right to own a firearm.
California is one of five states that already have what are known as “Red Flag Gun Laws”, aka Extreme Risk Protection Order Laws. These laws enable law enforcement officials and family members to petition a court to take away a person’s Second Amendment rights based on the accusation that the person in question poses a danger to his or her community. A judge looks at the evidence provided and makes a decision. Defendants who lose their case can have their guns confiscated for a time period ranging from a few weeks up to a year.
In California, a one-year confiscation period can be extended by the court. Well over twenty other states are considering laws of this nature in the wake of recent mass shootings, which is not surprising given the fact that many people who were close to the shooter in Parkland, Florida knew that there was a very real chance he would one day become violent.
The Golden State’s new law would expand current Red Flag Gun Laws to make it possible for an employer or co-workers to also use this law to file a claim against a person believed to pose a danger to the community. College and high school staff could also use the law to file a petition against any student who has been attending the educational institution in question for at least six months.
Proponents of the law are naturally praising it as an effective way to deter gun violence in the workplace and at schools. They note that adult mass shooters aren’t likely to spend much time with their families, but do spend plenty of time at work; thus, employers and colleagues may be likely to notice that something is wrong before distant family members find out. However, advocates for the bill have failed to take note of the fact that not all shooters show clear warning signs that they are planning to kill fellow students or co-workers. Family members and close friends of Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who recently shot ten fellow classmates at Santa Fe High School in Texas, has been described as loving and quiet, with no past record of getting into trouble at school.
It’s also impossible not to take note of the fact that this law can easily be misused by those who are afraid of guns in general or simply have a grudge against another person. Office drama is all too common, and it is easy for a co-worker to become resentful against a colleague due to being passed over for a promotion or special training opportunity. Failed office romances are also fairly frequent, as are arguments between bosses and their underlings. Now, angry co-workers have a tool in their arsenal to “get even” with someone they don’t like. It’s also important to note that faculty members of many educational institutions tend to have a liberal point of view, and could easily use this law to discriminate against students who don’t believe gun control is a good thing.
Advocates for this law and other forms of gun control tend to feel that confiscating guns and restricting their legal uses is the only way to stop mass shootings. However, a look at American history clearly shows that guns on their own aren’t the only factor involved in mass shootings. Firearms of all types and sizes have been permitted in the United States for hundreds of years with few or no restrictions; even so, mass shootings have only become commonplace in the last twenty years or so. A
look at other factors causing individuals to use guns to take the lives of innocent people will clearly show that gun control on its own won’t stop people intent on murdering others from doing so.
~ Firearm Daily