“Nineteen states and Washington, DC, currently have red flag laws, otherwise known as extreme risk protection laws. It’s a form of gun control that even Republicans have endorsed, including some red-state governors, former President Donald Trump, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Connecticut was the first to enact such a law two decades ago, but the rest were passed in the last six years.
The more modern laws follow a similar formula, modeled after domestic violence protection orders. Certain people can petition for an extreme risk protection order from a court — a civil, not criminal mechanism that would prevent an individual from legally possessing or purchasing a gun for up to one year and allow police to seize their firearms for that period.
In most cases, it’s the police who initiate the petition against individuals who have a criminal history, who have made threats of violence, or who present other behavioral risk factors. But in some states, family members of the individual, health professionals, and school administrators can also do so. Should the individual continue to present an immediate danger to themselves or others, the petitioner can go back to the court after the year is up and seek another order.
The intention of these laws isn’t to criminalize people; it’s to stop guns from falling into the hands of those who have exhibited heightened risk of violent behavior and who don’t otherwise meet the threshold to be charged with a crime or involuntarily committed.”
“There have been some jurisdictions — including in San Diego; King County, Washington; and Broward County, Florida — that have put resources toward creating dedicated law enforcement units that petition for such orders, but they are the exceptions. King County, for example, used a protection order to seize firearms from the alleged leader of a neo-Nazi group in 2019.
“What we’re seeing is that where you have that robust training, you have people who are dedicated to this, this is their job or a good part of their job, we see better success,” Horwitz said. “The laws don’t self-execute. These are very new laws. We need to make sure that we support them.””
“The Dickey Amendment, first attached to the 1996 omnibus spending bill, for example, famously prevented the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from funding gun violence studies for decades. A new interpretation of that amendment in 2018 changed that, but Dickey wasn’t the only thing making it hard to study gun violence.
Instead, the researchers told me, the biggest impediment to demonstrating whether gun control policies work is the way politicians have intentionally blocked access to the data that would be necessary to do that research.”
“In January 2016, Mesa police responded to a report of a man pointing a rifle out of a hotel window. It was in fact Shaver showing a pellet gun that he used at his exterminator job to a couple other hotel guests in his room.
Police ordered Shaver out of the hotel room and onto the ground, with his hands behind his head. But instead of handcuffing Shaver, officers—bizarrely—started barking confusing and contradictory orders at him to crawl toward them. As a clearly terrified and drunk Shaver tried to crawl toward the police, he appeared to reach toward his waistband to pull up his sagging shorts. A Mesa officer, Philip Mitchell Brailsford, shot Shaver five times with an AR-15, killing him.”
“In 2017, a jury acquitted Brailsford of second-degree murder and reckless manslaughter. This is because juries are instructed to judge officers not by how a normal civilian would respond, but by how a reasonable police officer is trained to respond to a threat, real or imagined. As Reason’s Jacob Sullum wrote, the acquittal showed that cops on trial benefit from a double standard: “Unlike ordinary citizens, they can kill with impunity as long as they say they were afraid, whether or not their fear was justified.””
“Brailsford indeed challenged his termination, and in response, the city cut a special deal that allowed him to be temporarily re-hired so he could retire with medical benefits and a disability pension. Brailsford claimed that killing Shaver and his subsequent prosecution gave him post-traumatic stress disorder. Because of this, he will receive a monthly pension check of $2,569.21 for the rest of his life, courtesy of Mesa taxpayers.”
“President Joe Biden, who recently issued a mass pardon for low-level marijuana offenders, says cannabis consumption should not be treated as a crime. His administration nevertheless defends the federal ban on gun possession by marijuana users, arguing that Second Amendment rights are limited to “law-abiding citizens.”
Last week, a federal judge agreed, dismissing a challenge to that rule by medical marijuana patients in Florida. The reasoning underlying that decision shows that the constitutional right to armed self-defense, which the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld, is still subject to legislators’ arbitrary whims and irrational prejudices.”
“Winsor noted a long history of banning gun ownership by people convicted of certain crimes. But as Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett pointed out in a 2019 dissent as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, that history does not suggest that any crime, or even any felony, will do.
“Legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns,” Barrett wrote. “But that power extends only to people who are dangerous.”
Are cannabis consumers dangerous? Winsor suggested that they are, accepting the Biden administration’s analogy between the gun ban for marijuana users and laws enacted in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries that prohibited people from either carrying or firing guns “while intoxicated.”
That analogy fails, however, because those laws did not impose general bans on gun possession by drinkers. They applied only when gun owners were under the influence.”
“In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper..President Joe Biden conceded that his son Hunter lied on a government form when he purchased a handgun in October 2018—a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The younger Biden was a crack cocaine user at the time, as recounted in his 2021 memoir Beautiful Things. Yet he answered no to this question on ATF Form 4473: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”
” The Washington Post reported that federal agents believe they have enough evidence to charge Hunter Biden with making that false statement. Although the Post did not mention it, receiving and possessing the gun he bought was also a felony, which at the time likewise was punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Biden signed into law in June, raised the maximum penalty for that offense to 15 years.
Biden presumably does not think his son should go to prison for lying about his personal habits or for violating a federal law that prohibited him from owning a gun. Neither do I. But if that result would be unjust, why does Biden enthusiastically support the laws that allow it?
Under those laws, someone in Hunter Biden’s position, if convicted, can be sent to federal prison for years or decades. Furthermore, such a conviction would forever bar him from possessing firearms, whether or not he continued using illegal drugs. If he were caught with a gun after being convicted of a felony, he could be prosecuted again, in which case he would now face up to 15 years in prison. And he would carry all the other lifelong burdens of a felony record.”
“The federal prohibition of gun possession by unlawful users of controlled substances also applies to cannabis consumers, even if they live in states that allow medical or recreational use of marijuana.”