(By Samuel Di Gangi) The United States Of America is often called “great” due to things that go well beyond the current mood of modern politics, on foundations laid long before it. One of those great elements is the promise of due process. Due process means that a citizen has to be found to have been guilty of a crime before any kind of loss of rights is suffered. As this right breaks down, we see everyone from politicians to sports heroes simply being accused of virtually anything, and losing all that they’ve earned.
Yes, in some instances there is guilt.
In others, however, there is not. Keep in mind that at this point in the discussion, we have only looked at what happens when due process is ignored by one’s sponsor, employer, etc. If this reflection is taken into legal or constitutional realms, the outcome is ever grimmer.
This is true in many ways, particularly as it pertains to the Second Amendment. So called “Red Flag Laws” (hereafter referred to as “RFLs”) are much like a fallen sport’s star’s sponsors. They are supposed to work for the greater good. In the same way that someone like Nike (used only as an an example) may not want an accused player endorsing their brand, society does not want anyone who may have certain “red flag issues” owning a gun and putting others a risk.
That, on paper, makes perfect sense. To say that there are not cases where mental illness plays in role in why a patient should never own a gun is simply being foolish. There certainly are such cases. That isn’t up for debate.
What is very much up for discussion is where the line is drawn. Few would argue to support gun ownership for those who may be suffering from extreme or latent dementia, serial rapists, and those who often can not distinguish reality from fantasy, to name but a few.
What about those suffering from something more common, such as so-called “manic depression?” Most people who are diagnosed with this “illness” (there is debate about how this is diagnosed), are not violent. In fact, according to Everyday Health, “People with any mental illness are often labeled as potentially violent, even if they have no history of violence or any apparent violent tendencies.”
PROBLEMS IN THE THEORY
This is the part of the debate where RFLs and the woes of painting with broad brushes comes into vivid clarity. In the modern day and age, people are more encouraged to seek help for depression issues than ever before. Those who have been through a painful separation, the loss of a job, or other mental trauma are always told to “seek help,” and this is not always bad advice.
However, while the diagnosis may not be “manic” depression, there are a plethora of other “illnesses” which can (and likely will be) diagnosed when help is sought.
So, just like that, a sad and abandoned husband is suddenly labeled a “risk” under a RFL. Such a person now is considered too unstable to own a gun, defend their home, etc, etc. This would be true even if the patient has never even dreamed of hurting anyone at all.
Now, before anyone suggests that this is simply too far-fetched to be real, keep in mind that anyone can call the authorities under any circumstances (including revenge, street justice, and so on) on whoever they wish, and the onus will likely fall onto the patient to prove otherwise. That is the way that many RFL’s are being written and this fact has led many of those who support the Second Amendment to suggest that these laws are not about stopping high-risk people from owning guns, but rather, an attempt by the anti-Second Amendment crowd to take as money guns as possible from as many people as possible.
If true, this would certainly do the trick. For instance, are “you” gay and seeking some health professional to talk to about being harassed? Well, then you could be considered too out of touch with yourself and/or too angry to safely own a firearm. Or, in another example, are you a lady who is experiencing anger over being raped, and needs to talk to someone? In that case, perhaps you can not to be trusted with a gun.
That is what the slippery slope is, and that is how it works. If anyone doubts this, let us remember that this is how oppression has always crept into every system of government that has ever disarmed their people. As Independent.org has said, even Hitler was infamous for disarming “ordinary people.” They stated that “Gun Control in the Third Reich, Stephen Halbrook’s excellent history of gun control in Germany, shows that, motives notwithstanding, removing weapons from the general population always disarms society vis-a-vis its worst elements. In Germany the authorities tried to deal with the Nazi and Communist mobs that were shaking society’s foundations indirectly, by disarming ordinary people. But their cowardice ended up delivering a helpless population to the Nazis’ tender mercies. Halbrook’s richly documented history leads Americans to ask why those among us who decry violence in our society choose to try tightening the vise on ordinary citizens’ capacity to defend themselves rather than to constrain the sectors of society most responsible for the violence.”
Or, to put it another, Hitler told his people that taking guns away would make everyone safer. Sound familiar?
GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT
So, at this point, we have shown how RFLs cause the gun owner to be guilty until proven innocent, even if the gun owner never even dreamed of hurting anybody, and owned a weapon for purely defensive and/or sporting purposes. What other issues are there with RFL as they are being written now?
Well, for one thing, RFLs are being sold as a “left vs. right” issue, another tactic often used in the past. In modern times, that is the left wanting to disarm people, so for discussion purposes, that example shall be used.
When Stalin (historically viewed as “left-leaning,” to say the least) disarmed people using many of the same arguments used today, he then used the laws that his supporters favored to disarm his supporters, too! The rest is (a bloody) history.
Now, to be fair, before anyone on the right laughs too hardily, Hitler (historically viewed as both hard left and hard right – the worst of both worlds) did the very same thing to the S.A., the fascists who worked to disarm the German citizenry for him. Hitler not only took the weapons away from the S.A, who trusted and died for him, he went one step further and slaughtered them.
All of these details matter quite a bit because America is facing many of these same issues today. In Texas, a supposed “conservative” stronghold, RFLs are proving to be quite invasive. Ammoland has written that “Texas lawmakers will consider anti-gun bills including ‘red flag’ laws, mandatory background checks for all private handgun sales at gun shows, and new regulations on 3-D printed firearms in the next year’s legislative session.”
Ah… let us pause.
Before any reflection and debate is given or put forward about what these RFLs may be, let us look a little closer. In order to regulate 3-D printed guns, wouldn’t the government have to regulate 3-D printers, at least to some degree?
So now that 3-D printers can make guns, this is something that can be stopped. Well, since Uncle Sam has such accurate data about who owns such capable machines, why stop there? If “Mr. Average Joe” wants to 3-D print his new car door, well, there may a patent on that. Or, there may be laws or statutes that force him to pay for the for actual product, not just print his own:
“Mr. Average Joe,” please pay up.
If the government catches Mr. Average Joe doing otherwise, he may lose his car, his right to drive, and he may be heavily fined. If a social credit system is in place by then, he may not be allowed to do much of anything. Since many of the current left in America likes such a system, perhaps RFLs can be tied to that, as well.
Is it hard to see where this all leads? Is it hard to see how this is not only an abuse of the Second Amendment, but also, a bureaucratic machine to take over things far, far unrelated to firearms and personal protection?
As for the rest of the argument, there are already a plethora of problems arising from RFLs, and some people have already died in the fallout.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
One of the most important things that people can do when addressing gun laws and RFLs is to understand that all notions of the left vs. right construct must be discarded. There are many Trump supporters in 2019 who are livid about his lackadaisical attitude to how RFLs are being written.
History has shown the world that if a government on the left wants to disarm the right, it shall soon turn on the very left-leaning people who helped….and disarm them, too.
Secondly, the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), should be put into the paper shredder if those who are writing RFLs are going to use it to disarm the citizenry. There are enough mental illnesses listed that the mere act of biting one’s nails is enough to be proof positive of a mental shortcoming.
A third thing that would help a lot is for parents to spend a lot more time teaching children that, even if it is progressive to say otherwise, science has shown a lot of proof that mankind is a created being. If this is understood, even if one is by no means a Christian, then the power of what “God-given rights” means (especially the right to defend one’s self) really matters.
That said, one thing MUST be understood: IT IS NOT IMPORTANT THAT EVERYONE BELIEVES IN GOD AS THE FOUNDERS DID!!!
Rather, it’s more important that everyone understands that since the founders did believe in God, they were saying in our founding documents that by the very fact that we exist, we have a right to defend ourselves. In this context, it is that principle that matters, not that they credited that life to God. It is time for gun debates to stop revolving around the wrong part of the argument. Even an atheist has a right life, and the founders were saying that they have a right to keep and defend that life, belief in God or not.
Lastly, beyond the calling/emailing/letter writing that is always a boon to such arguments, the ballot box speaks volumes. Refusing to vote for anyone who supports stripping away guns rights is imperative. If this is overlooked, the battle is already lost, and in time, the Second Amendment will be also.
Samuel Earl Di Gangi is a writer, political commentator, graphic artist, DJ, and musician with a strong pro-Libertarian & pro-Christian lean. He is the curator of “The Correct Views”, or “TCV”, which is a member show of the newsgroup “The Media Speaks”.
You can contact Sam directly at email@example.com