PROBLEMATIC: The Term ‘Red Flag’ Isn’t Inclusive and is Triggering Some on the Anti-Gun Left

coalition to stop gun violence red flag law

courtesy csgv.org

Those of us who support the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms have always been disturbed by gun violence restraining orders, or so-called red flag laws. Ever since California put the first one in place, allowing due process-free confiscation of an individual’s guns based on the suspicions of others, we’ve opposed them in their current form.

But now it turns out some of our friends on the anti-gun left have a problem with them, too. Oh, they’re fine with grabbing someone’s (anyone’s?) guns based on nothing more than the word of a relative or co-worker, in some cases. What they’re having trouble with is the insensitive term “red flag.”

It seems some are finding the term, well, problematic. Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex made man Josh Horwitz (executive director of the CSGV) has penned a post for Medium describing the stigmatizing nature of calling these confiscation statutes “red flag” laws.

Over time — especially after many conversations with our allies in the mental health community — it has become clear that the term “red flag law” is not just a memorable, innocuous nickname. It is a term that has the potential to alienate marginalized groups. And by mischaracterizing the way these laws operate, “red flag” is a term that jeopardizes the policy’s impact.

These problems stem from the vague nature of the name “red flag.” Because the term is so indefinite in meaning, it is easy to corrupt. It is easy to mischaracterize the policy’s mechanisms and purpose — whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Mischaracterize their purpose? Not really. Their purpose is quite clear, really.

courtesy twitter.com

In most jurisdictions with red flag laws, just about anyone related to or knowing an individual can can drop a dime on a gun owner — out or genuine concern or malicious mischief — and get a court order issued to confiscate their guns. The gun owner usually won’t even know the order has been issued until he or she gets a knock on the door asking for their firearms.

But that isn’t the part that’s triggering Horwitz now that he’s become sufficiently woke to the term’s potential meaning.

For instance, citizens and legislators may believe the term “red flag” encompasses or refers to mental health disabilities. This association, which is often rooted in implicit bias, furthers the incorrect stereotype that mental illness is a significant risk factor for interpersonal violence. By facilitating this association, the term “red flag” stigmatizes those with mental health disabilities and misrepresents extreme risk laws, which were specifically crafted to assess risk without unfairly stigmatizing those living with mental health disabilities.

So it’s really all about bias and unfairly stigmatizing those with mental health problems?

“When we say ‘red flag laws,’ we reinforce existing prejudice against people with mental health disabilities,” says Julia Bascom, Executive Director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. “It’s a phrase that brings to mind ‘dangerous people’ and other blurry categories. Who is dangerous? Who is a red flag? Our society already thinks of people with mental health disabilities as scary and dangerous — we too quickly make the leap from concerning behaviors to stigmatizing anyone with a certain label. Vague terms like ‘red flag laws’ make that leap even easier.”

OK, but that’s not Horwitz’s biggest worry. He’s also very concerned about how the gun right community may use the term.

As the National Rifle Association (NRA) and their allies consistently use mental illness as a scapegoat for gun violence, the term “red flag laws” gives the gun lobby yet another opportunity to change the subject from guns to mental illness — and convince the public that people living with mental illness are the real problem. …

“Instead of making that easier for (the NRA), it’s critical that we are explicit and deliberate with our language from the outset and keep the focus of the conversation where we want it — on the evidence, the real risks, and the solutions,” says Bascom.

Besides, calling them “red flag” laws doesn’t present a clear picture of what these confiscation-enabling statues are really all about.

Indeed, the term “red flag” does not describe the real risk-based, data-driven approach that extreme risk laws utilize. Instead, “red flag” suggests a subjective, arbitrary process based on intuition or a “gut feeling” rather than evidence. The gun lobby relishes using the term “red flag law” for this reason and has already seized upon and perpetuated this misconception, suggesting that extreme risk laws could be used to seek revenge on an individual even in the absence of evidence to suggest that the person poses a danger to self or others.

Because that could never happen. Who could possibly conceive of  bad break-up or nasty divorce resulting in an ex calling in a bogus threat from their former significant other to exact a measure of revenge?

Or something like this perhaps:

As Horwitz makes clear, for the preservation of the civilian disarmament movement, it’s time to retire this antiquated, bigoted, micro-aggressive term.

For the inclusivity of the gun violence prevention movement, for the future success of extreme risk laws, for our commitment to truth and accuracy, it is time to retire the term “red flag laws.”

Sure, “gun violence restraining order” is a much bigger mouthful, but if you really care about taking guns away from average Americans dangerous individuals, you’ll reeducate yourself. Do it for the children.

comments

  1. avatar Dennis Sumner says:

    Blah, blah, fuckin blah!

    1. avatar Madcapp says:

      I know all about red flags. China’s flag is red, so is the flag of the old Soviet Union. Heck, even California’s flag has enough red in it to let you know what’s up.

      1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

        Somewhere between ’76 and 2000 the networks decided that for elections the Republicans were red because of the bad (at the time) association with communism.

        1. avatar Jefferson says:

          “…suggesting that extreme risk laws could be used to seek revenge on an individual even in the absence of evidence to suggest that the person poses a danger to self or others.”

          The absence of evidence? What evidence? Oh yeah, the mere fact a citizen owns a firearm evidence, which by default, and its very nature, poses a danger to self and others.

          These are truly evil people.

        2. avatar David Bradford says:

          “Somewhere between ’76 and 2000 the networks decided that for elections the Republicans were red because of the bad (at the time) association with communism.”
          And this irks me to no end. Red has signified left (port side) for more than 400 years(also why red wine is called Port) and Socialism/ Communism since the 1840s.

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      yeah,..silly blather…this is all about denying individuals due process based on an anonymous “tip”….

  2. avatar BC says:

    Call them red herring laws instead. Problem fixed?

  3. avatar Shire-man says:

    Wokiness is fun. It always eats itself as by definition nobody can ever be woke enough. The most progressive thing these clowns can do is suicide. It solves all the woke issues.

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      Yeah, but they can’t do anything right in the first place, so they’ll screw it up. Then they’ll cry about civil rights because someone locked them up for trying and failing. I’m really hoping for a law that is meant to target guns, but somehow ends up targeting the very people who pushed it through.

      One can dream.

  4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    They should just call them ‘SWAT your neighbor with impunity’ laws.

  5. avatar GH says:

    Daily reminder that ALL gun laws are infringements.
    Daily reminder that posting comments like this on sites like this will probably get me ERPO’d at some point.

  6. avatar User1 says:

    But doesn’t the NRA use a different term, the term they want you to use now?

  7. avatar strych9 says:

    “Because the term is so indefinite in meaning, it is easy to corrupt. It is easy to mischaracterize the policy’s mechanisms and purpose — whether intentionally or unintentionally.”

    LOL. Nuance is convenient when convenient and inconvenient when it’s inconvenient. How cute.

    I wonder if he realizes that he’s accidentally admitted to the word games his group consistently plays. Nah, that would be inconvenient nuance and he ain’t having none of that, unless of course it’s convenient.

  8. avatar Southern Cross says:

    Downunder we have Gun Violence Restraining Orders which are issued by police on criminals, families of criminals, and associates of criminals. Gives them something else to use on named people.

    Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) are most commonly issued by courts and police in domestic disturbances. But are also often issued in separations and divorces. I was very lucky my ex wife did not do this. It results in immediate cancellation of your firearms licence and seizure of your firearms. I know someone whose ex wife did this. It took 6 months, many court appearances, and many thousands of dollars to clear his name and get his license reinstated, and his firearms returned.

    And a regular court issued restraining order has the same results.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Here we call AVOs “DVROs” (domestic violence restraining orders), and they come with criminal law consequences if violated. Yes, they are commonly issued (and almost as commonly dropped), and when issued are delivered to the police so that they can identify persons who are subject to–and accused of violating–such orders. Although their efficacy is often questioned (criminals gonna get guns no matter what you do, and the police are minutes away), they do allow for arrest and prosecution for the possession of firearms, stalking, and related violent offenses. As such, they are FAR more powerful than “GVROs.” The typical GVRO only lasts for one year, and unless an order is renewed, require the return of firearms. A permanent DVRO can last MUCH longer. About the only thing these are good for are to perhaps prevent suicides. However, there are already laws on the books that allow the detention of suicidal individuals, and if they are involuntarily committed to a mental institution, they lose their gun rights for life. So what the point of these laws is escapes me, except to turn this into surveillance state.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        A DVRO may prevent suicide? How? Does it shorten tall buildings? Blunt knives? Render drugs impotent? Let’s not be silly. And, just BTW, a friend’s 13-year-old successfully committed suicide while on suicide watch *IN* a mental health facility. With a bedsheet. Mom should have kept her home.

  9. avatar GunnyGene says:

    And I should give shit about his opinion, why?

  10. avatar WTF says:

    This is nothing more than an end around tactic grab ALL guns. The bottom line for Libtards is this. If someone doesn’t agree with them then they are a mental risk to society. They’ve already tried this on Trump. Calling his mental state into question because they hate him so much. We will be no different

  11. avatar UpInArms says:

    ” Indeed, the term “red flag” does not describe the real risk-based, data-driven approach that extreme risk laws utilize. Instead, “red flag” suggests a subjective, arbitrary process based on intuition or a “gut feeling” rather than evidence. ”

    I’ve been rambling around this planet for over 60 years, and this has got to be the biggest load of horseshit I’ve ever seen. This is straight out of Orwell’s 1984.

    What the fuck is this “risk-based, data-driven approach”? What data? “I’m skeered cause dat guy has guns!” Some data. What evidence? Same shit — “I’m skeered cause dat guy has guns.”

    Red-flag doesn’t SUGGEST a “subjective, arbitrary process based on intuition.” Subjective and arbitrary is exactly what it is. Calling it “red-flag” is simply calling a spade a spade.

    I thought I’d seen already just how low, how dishonest the anti-gun mafia can go. I guess I was wrong.

    1. avatar Dennis Sumner says:

      Yes. You were wrong, stay tuned! As they say, they dont just lower the bar, they are the bar.

  12. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “PROBLEMATIC: The Term ‘Red Flag’ Isn’t Inclusive and is Triggering Some on the Anti-Gun Left”

    Just WTF aren’t they “triggered” by…???

    What I find as a “red flag”, are the liberals/leftists who think they can(and do) say whatever they want without fear of recrimination or retribution…

    EXAMPLE…

    Freshman Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is not apologizing for profane comments she made Thursday about impeaching President Donald Trump.

    Tlaib, who was sworn in as Michigan’s representative from the 13th Congressional District on Thursday, was speaking at an event for progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org when she relayed a conversation with her son to the crowd: “And when your son looks at you and says, ‘Momma, look you won, bullies don’t win,’ and I said, ‘Baby they don’t,’ because we’re gonna go in and impeach the motherf—–.”

    That just about sums it up for the left…

  13. avatar Ing says:

    Well, we’d better get rid of those Red Flag laws, then. It’s the only solution that benefits everyone.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      the senate is conducting hearings on this…be interesting to see the outcome…

  14. avatar SdubM45 says:

    God, the left does eat their own.

  15. avatar SdubM45 says:

    As always, I would like to remind everyone that this group used to be called “The Coalition to Ban Handguns.” Just so you all know.

    1. avatar Bob Jones says:

      Since handguns are the weapon of choice used in most shootings, why does their logo feature an AR, which has been used in a very small number of shootings ?

  16. avatar RhondoHSlade says:

    Same song, different tune SdubM45.

  17. avatar Michael says:

    Hitler sent “mentally deficient” useless eaters to the camps and ovens. How did they find them? They were mostly turned in by their relatives and close friends. -30-

    1. avatar R Vincent Warde says:

      Actually most were institutionalized prior to the policy. They were very careful not to expose the program to the public and used phony death certificates to hide the murders. They certainly would have liked to kill more, but the German people were “not ready” to accept the open use of these methods, in spite of propaganda efforts to promote them.

      It’s worth noting that the Nazis were very sensitive to public opinion inside Germany. For instance, when they tried to send a group of Jew married to gentile women to the camps (and their deaths), their wives started a protest at the train station, which gained some public support. The men were sent home and most survived the war.

  18. avatar AndyinMA says:

    Time honored liberal tactic – manipulate the language

  19. avatar R Vincent Warde says:

    “Ever since California put the first one in place, allowing due process-free confiscation of an individual’s guns based on the suspicions of others, we’ve opposed them in their current form.”

    I am EXTREMELY concerned about these laws, but stopping them is not as simple as challenging them on due process grounds. California’s law, at least in its initial form, was carefully crafted to avoid a due process challenge. A second hearing is automatically scheduled when the order is issued. Like it or not, courts have ruled that such laws do not violate due process.

    Otherwise the article is great. We have to demand the following of any “red flag law”:

    1) Robust due process protections
    2) Limits as to who may apply for an order
    3) Severe civil and criminal penalties for those who abuse the system
    4) Proper storage of seized firearms
    5) No change of ownership under these orders

    Demand these protections and the other side will likely oppose them – exposing their real agenda.

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      California’s law, at least in its initial form, was carefully crafted to avoid a due process challenge. A second hearing is automatically scheduled when the order is issued. Like it or not, courts have ruled that such laws do not violate due process.

      Which shows just how corrupted some courts are.
      The second hearing is scheduled for after the punishment is effected. This puts the punishment (sentence) before the judicial hearing.
      That some courts see no problem with this is proof positive that “progressivism” is a corrupt system with no regard for the rule of law.

      And “Notify me of follow-up comments by email” still doesn’t work. Other blogs manage to get it right, it can’t be that hard.

  20. avatar Sam Wright says:

    Because that could never happen. Who could possibly conceive of bad break-up or nasty divorce resulting in an ex calling in a bogus threat from their former significant other to exact a measure of revenge?
    Dan Zimmerman must have married my ex-wife.

    1. avatar CC says:

      Articles in the the major law journal estimate restraining order cases run about 80% illegitimate

  21. avatar HP says:

    “Evidence based laws”

    Yeah, because an insane liberal squealing to a Judge to strip someone of their rights is all the “evidence” these laws need.

  22. avatar CC says:

    As the National Rifle Association (NRA) and their allies consistently use mental illness as a scapegoat for gun violence, the term “red flag laws” gives the gun lobby yet another opportunity to change the subject from guns to mental illnes

    Except the data and science show the mass shooters are all mentally ill.

    And mentally all DO commit assault/murder be it with knife, gun whatever at seriously elevated rates compared to the general population.

    In fact north of 99% of gun violence is prior criminals or seriously mentally ill persons.

    Anyone how knows anything about comparative mandatory mental health treatment in the developed Democracies knows it is easier to confine and mandatory treat for mental illness in the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Australia etc than it is in the US.

    near to where I lived some years ago a seriously mentally ill guy, whose parents had tried to get committed killed three people (n fact military age males) with a knife and hammer, and three with a gun. WHAT the fk protection from red flag laws on guns alone given to the three people he killed with a knife?

  23. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

    The proper term is native american flag law. Get with the program

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