GOA to Congress: “Red Flag” Laws Will Not Save Lives
The following was sent to every member of Congress on August 16, 2019.
“Red Flag” Gun Confiscation Orders (GCOs), also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders, are an objectively ineffective proposal in the wake of mass public shootings. A study on the effectiveness of “Red Flag” GCOs, conducted in 2018 using data from 13 states for a combined total of 36 years, found that “Red Flag” Gun Confiscation Orders don’t reduce crime, don’t reduce suicides, don’t reduce murders, and don’t reduce mass murders.
In fact, most mass shooters fall into one of two categories: (1) Either there were no “red flags” that something was wrong, or (2) A governmental authority failed to act when there were warning signs. Regarding the latter, authorities have failed to utilize existing “Red Flag” laws, did not seek an involuntary commitment for the mentally ill, or refused to arrest and prosecute violent individuals.
Some of the failures of “Red Flag” GCOs can be seen in recent high-profile shootings such as:
- Jacksonville, Florida (2019), when “Red Flag” GCOs in both Florida and Maryland failed to disarm a video game shooter. Not only had the mother called the police on the killer “about 20 times,” he had been involuntary committed six times and was on “antipsychotic medications.”
- Parkland, Florida (2018), where a GCO would have been ineffective because the family defended the murderer’s emotional state to authorities during the dozens of times he was investigated prior to the attack. Each time he was reported as a “low risk,” even though police could have arrested him on several occasions.
- Aurora, Illinois (2019), where state-level Universal Background Checks, Firearm Owner ID cards, “Red Flag” GCOs, and the NICS system failed to stop a “depressed” man with an aggravated assault conviction from purchasing and possessing firearms and later murdering his coworkers.
- San Bernardino, California (2015), when, despite a 2014 GCO law, authorities ignored “red flags” like inclinations to jihad, martyrdom, and contact with terrorist recruiters.
- Thousand Oaks, California (2018), when, despite a mental health task force check-up and police considering a “Red Flag” GCO, authorities and gun control failed to stop the attack.
Some recent high-profile shootings where there were no “red flags” in the life of the shooter are:
- Sebring, Florida (2019), where several government-job related background checks and a $400 million gun control package from 2018, including GCOs, found no “red flags” to report to police.
- El Paso, Texas (2019), where Governor Abbot said “there were no red flags” about the shooter who waited until moments before the attack to publicly upload his racist and hateful beliefs.
- Santa Fe, Texas (2018), where not only has Governor Abbott stated there were no “red flags” in the life of the school shooter, but the killer stole his weapons—meaning he would have evaded any gun control background check or “Red Flag” law designed to disarm him.
- Gilroy, California (2019), where despite a 2014 state-level “Red Flag” law, the murderer “showed no reasons for concern,” when purchasing a firearm. Listening to media reports, the shooter’s family initially worried that the shooter (their relative) had fallen victim—not that he was the perpetrator.
- Poway, California (2019), a man who raised no “red flags” or had any prior run-in with law enforcement spent four weeks planning to shoot up a Synagogue despite state-level GCOs.
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is an armed good guy or gal. It is proven that self-defense minded Americans who carry firearms stop mass shootings all the time. Passing gun control like “Red Flag” Gun Confiscation Orders will do nothing to prevent future mass public shootings and will only serve to create more red tape and prevent more law-abiding citizens from being able to exercise their right to keep and bear arms. We cannot continue to allow the government to restrict, or in some states outright deny, their ability and right to defend themselves from the very shootings these gun control laws purport to prevent.
This is why for years, Gun Owners of America has urged responsible and effective firearm reforms. This would include Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity, like Congressman Richard Hudson’s H.R. 38 to allow law-abiding citizens to carry weapons. Or they would include bills to Repeal Gun-Free Zones, like Congressman Thomas Massie’s H.R. 3200, the Safe Students Act, which will eliminate the Gun-Free School Zone Act that has failed to stop a single school shooting.