From Redcoats to Red Flag Laws – How Have We Fallen So Far?

national gun control confiscation

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

By Gilbert Ambler

Yesterday I was in court on a domestic-related issue involving a firearm. My client was in a bad position. He was someone who had never been in trouble before when all of a sudden, after a disagreement with his girlfriend, he was thrown into the legal system.

This started as a situation where he was attacked by his girlfriend and he called the police for help. When police arrived, as my client waited outside his apartment, the police went in, spoke with his girlfriend, and then marched back outside and arrested him. His girlfriend had told police that he pointed a gun at her.

The allegation alone got him arrested. Fortunately, things went well for us in court. The girlfriend, who had lied to police, decided that even though the couple was now separated, she did not want to get on the stand and further perjure herself by telling more falsehoods. The charges against my client were dismissed.

“Red flag” confiscations often start with just such a complaint. This particular issue began as a false allegation that resulted in my client’s arrest, my client having to pay me, and my client having to take time off of work to appear in court on two separate occasions before we got charges dismissed.

What happened to the lying girlfriend? Absolutely nothing. Do you really think those who lie when making a red flag report will be prosecuted? Keep in mind, that even in an alternate reality where they are prosecuted, to be convicted of making false statements they would have to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is unlikely.

Meanwhile, the gun owner’s weapons are seized based on the much lower civil standard of a preponderance of the evidence.

red flag evro gvro confiscation colorado

Bigstock

Why would we expand the ability of the system to perpetrate such injustice? Why would we voluntarily create avenues for people to harass gun owners with no real repercussions for abuse of the system? Most importantly, why would we allow a confiscation system that seems to simultaneously impact so many of our constitutional rights at the same time?

The First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments are all impacted by proposed red flag laws. We know what these laws look like. Where implemented, these laws generally allow the removal of firearms from someone’s home, without notice or an opportunity for the gun owner to be heard in court in advance of the removal, based on the allegations of a third party.

Constitutionally, lack of procedural due process as provided for in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments is impacted through lack of prior notice and opportunity for the gun owner to be heard. Neither does the gun owner get to have an attorney advocate for him in court before removal of his weapons, implicating the Sixth Amendment.

Your ability to keep and bear arms is limited, obviously impacting the Second Amendment, and when what you say can be construed as a threat such that you are suspected of being a “danger to yourself or others,” that impacts the First Amendment.

Almost more concerning is the impact red flag laws have on the Fourth Amendment limitation on unreasonable search and seizure. While the Fourth Amendment has already been eviscerated judicially limited, red flag laws take this to a whole new level.

Police officers red flag confiscation order

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Without articulation that any crime has yet been committed, or that probable cause of a crime exists, your home is searched for weapons. Think law enforcement will just grab your rifle and leave? Doubtful. Could every tiny corner of your home contain ammunition or even a miniscule NAA .22 revolver? Then it can and likely will be searched.

Whatever is found will be used against you. Your teenage son had weed hidden in his dresser? Enjoy being prosecuted for that. Even without having anything to hide, who wants state troopers rummaging through your underwear drawer?

Another common misperception: do you think law enforcement officers will refuse to carry out these potentially unlawful searches? Don’t be naïve. Ask yourself whether state troopers in New Jersey (who also take an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution) will happily arrest you on constitutionally dubious grounds should you be caught with even a single hollow point round in your glovebox while in the state.

Maryland law enforcement has already shown up and killed a gun owner while carrying out a red flag confiscation order. Law enforcement will do what they have been trained to do…enforce the laws that they are told to enforce.

Judge in the courtroom. Male judge striking the gavel.

Importantly, most states already have a procedure in place to deal with persons who appear to be a threat to themselves or others. These procedures assist people in getting help, and commonly hold them for up to 72 hours, or longer with judicial sign-off to make sure that they do not harm themselves or others.

Allowing a potentially dangerous person to stay in place, but raiding their home to confiscate firearms seems suspiciously like a method designed to confiscate firearms, not a method meant to actually stop threats.

Such gun-grabbing should not be tolerated in our country. When British soldiers attempted to seize the arms of colonists, the colonists fought back. I can only imagine the type of threat that the colonists would have been perceived as today.

While I am certainly not advocating people take up arms against the government now, I think that a more modern and more peaceful approach to vigorous activism is in order. Learn about the threat of red flag laws when they are proposed in your state. Reach out to your politicians to point out the numerous constitutional failures of this kind of legislation.

Let politicians know that you will not vote for people who allow such extreme abrogation of your constitutional rights. Most importantly get out and actually vote against those who are so willing to see your rights violated.

 

Gilbert Ambler is the owner of Ambler Law Offices, LLC. He practices criminal defense in Virginia and Pennsylvania, with a particular focus on the Second Amendment and other constitutional issues.

comments

  1. avatar Mister Furious says:

    What is Vin Diesel doing with those guns?

    1. avatar MLee says:

      That’s what I thought when I saw that picture.

      1. avatar Rokurota says:

        He’s carrying out Operation… shoot, I forget the name.

  2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Why?
    Because as a society we were refused to hold women accountable for lying to the police or when they testify in court.

    It’s okay to lie in court. I know because the Libertarians Liberals and the Left said so. President Clinton walked free. While others went to jail for committing perjury.

    The Three L’s said it was okay to lie about sex in court under oath. Well that’s what’s happening now. Women are lying about sex. And men are paying the price for it.

    Accept men that are politically connected. Men like Clinton or Weinstein. But not Bill Cosby or the ordinary American male.

    I grew up in California in the 1970s when the standards were lowered for those accused of sexual assault or rape. The feminists lobbied for these changes in the law. Now a man or a boy, can be accused of a sex crime and he is automatically found guilty until proven innocent.

    They lose their position in their Community. They lose their job. They can be kicked out of school. Their reputations are destroyed.

    And you are losing your gun rights because of your sexual relationship with another person. The government is in your bedroom. And the Three L’s support it.

    1. avatar Dan W says:

      Letting them vote was the first mistake.

      1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

        👆Ladies and gentlemen this guy knows what he’s talking about.

      2. avatar NotARobot says:

        Based.

      3. avatar Sal Chichon says:

        Ratification of the 19th Amendment is the key to the undoing of the rest of Constitution. We allowed a cancer to be ratified.

    2. avatar Sal Chichon says:

      I am so happy to see such a positive male centric post from nearly the get-go! You are absolutely correct about women lying, and getting away with it! This is a trend that has to stop, and we have to learn to be less gynocentric in order to do so. Preach, bro!

    3. avatar G. W. says:

      Libertarians, not so much as for the other two, you are 100% correct.

  3. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

    I had a neighbor that was bloodied by his drunk as hell girlfriend. Same thing happened. He called the police. He sober and bleeding from scratches she drunk and not a mark on her, many of his belongings smashed. I watched the cops arrest him and then watched her throw out and break the rest of his stuff after they left. We heard her crazy screaming all the time. He was indeed an imbecile to live with her but that is much better than being cop that would assist her so.
    I do wonder if there is even a LEO reader here that won’t carry out these seizures to safeguard their income and pension. I hope there are but wouldn’t bet on it.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Similar story here. One of my friends from a few years ago was arrested by the LAPD after his ex-girlfriend reported him for rape because she was upset he broke up with her and decided to “get him back”. He spent over two weeks in jail before she finally recanted her story, and only after the D.A subpoenaed her to testify against him in court. He was released and charges dropped, but no charges were filed against her for lying to the police.

      Know how I found out? Our employer’s insurer wouldn’t allow him to drive a company vehicle because the arrest remains on his record. The charges were false and were dropped, but it takes an act of God to have the arrest expunged, which he couldn’t do. The mere act of just being arrested can be enough to taint your record and follow you around for life. Sux.

      1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        I’d hate to be a young guy dating today. Maybe store all firearms somewhere else when things aren’t good at home….before they escalate.

        1. avatar Sarge Mcvey says:

          Load all of your firearms, and ammunition into your vehicle and drive out of state about 100 miles into another state rent a storage unit, back up and unload them, make sure to grease them real good place each one in a plastic bag and tape them up with duct tape. Close the storage unit door, and leave.

      2. avatar Voldamort says:

        I have a friend here in the middle-of-nowhere, MT, who went to jail because his wife broke a ceramic plate over his head. He got the knot on his head, and the police decided that since he was male, he was guilty.
        That’s the way the system works. As a pawnbroker for 15 years, I have a lot of experience with the inJustice system in the US. I’ve never seen a case prosecuted honestly. Not even once. The entire US system stinks as bad as WOM TTAG does!

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          And that’s why we in CA know that the very first thing to do (if at all possible) is to call the police. The one who makes the call is considered by default as the “victim” and takes priority over all other participants in an event. That’s why I keep my phone next to my bed at night on the nightstand, along with my gun, flashlight, etc. If I have to respond to a serious threat in the middle of the night, I can simply dial 911, identify myself by name and address, then place the phone back on the nightstand so the operator can hear/record me yell “This is my house and you are intruding. I have a gun and have called 911”. Anything that happens after that can happen…I’ve CYA’s myself.

        2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Ugh.

          “…CYA’d myself…”

        3. avatar Voldamort says:

          Since my first job, I’ve often been told “CYOA, because nobody else will.” I’ve always found that was extremely good advice.
          Just FYI, I accidentally clicked on the wrong email address. Still shadowbanned, even after this much time. So I spent a few seconds typing it over. At least I learned how hated I am over here…

        4. avatar Voldamort says:

          Yup, that was it. Works perfect now. Shadowbanned in every way possible. The wages of telling the truth… on a website with the word “truth” right in their title.
          That’s irony, right there. 🙂

  4. avatar Apple Jax says:

    The author’s constitutional reasoning is spot on. I would also add an attack based on suspect classes should also be sought. Specifically intentional targeting of certain classes of individuals based on race, sex and now sexual orientation. Red Flag laws disproportionately target straight white males. I would further add that this targeting may even be the intention of the drafters of the legislation.

    Proving it would be tough, but it’s yet another way Red Flag laws target individuals for discrimination. I am willing to bet the number of LGBT women targeted by Red Flag confiscations could be counted on one hand.

    1. avatar Jaque says:

      There is movement to amend the First Amendment to prohibit hate speech with gun ban and confiscation proposed as the punishments. You can bet when the communists seize power they will see this thru.

      https://www.thetrace.org/2019/09/disarm-hate-act-democratic-misdemeanor-hate-crime-background-checks/

      1. avatar Yourmom says:

        They use NCVS data for the guns used in hate crimes. The article the trace sitesfrom ,WAPO, sites an article that sites The Trace. When the Dems win it’s over….. they are all conspiring to impose their version of retributive justice they want to make us Britain.

        1. avatar Sarge Mcvey says:

          Never post a picture of a firearm online, Google and Facebook have been using their system to get the serial number, and model of weapon, and they already have your name and address and they have been complying a list of those who do this. Be safe and do not tell anyone on Facebook, Google, Twitter or any Social Media page what weapons you have or even within a 200 mile radius of where you live.

  5. avatar RCC says:

    Friend of a friend was sitting on couch and was hit from behind by wife with frying pan last year and luckily not too badly hurt. Witnessed by teen daughter. He was not arrested but guess who now has protection order against him (no guns now) plus she has the house etc.

    Similar thing this year with friend, small wife and a knife. He was bleeding everywhere. Order against him and again all his firearms gone.

    The believe any accusation without evidence is setting back justice for men and the occasional women who then lose everything. The only thing that surprises me is that there are not more domestic murders.

  6. avatar Jaque says:

    Its already too late. Red Flag laws are modeled after laws of Joseph Stalin. Innocent Americans are being murdered by police at an increasing rate, even in their homes some shot thru doors and windows. The entire club of democrats drewling for a White House bed are promising Stalins gun confiscation and KGB style assaults on Americans who defy their
    communist anti-gun laws. We are one election away from a communist government, but the tyranny is with us today.

    The Founding Fathers predicted such events and is why the Second Amendment was created. Americans need their arms today more than at any time since the revolutionary war.

    1. avatar Ragnar says:

      Are you implying that family, friends, neighbors and associates would spy on you or suggest to the government that you are an enemy of the state and should have your privileges and rights stripped from you?

      Damn, I just confused myself. Are we talking about the Soviet Union or Red Flag Laws?

      1. avatar Sarge Mcvey says:

        It is getting to be the United Socialist States of America, best wake up folks.

  7. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Red Flag laws are a direct violation of 6 or 7 constitutional rights,by the government/crown against the people.Thus when they are challenged in court should be declared as repugnant to the constitution,if the justices first duty is to that of the constitution.

  8. avatar Dog of War says:

    ‘How Have We Fallen So Far?’

    Well that’s easy. We didn’t stomp the Democrat party out of existence after the civil war. Most of the worse policies of every administration have their roots in democrat policy. Everything from gun control to eugenics.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      I wonder how thinks would be different if Nathan Bedford Forest and some of his cronies were hung as war criminals after the civil war.

      1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        Pictures are hung.

        1. avatar Voldamort says:

          You’ve got it. Pictures get hung, men get hanged. Kind of a silly distinction though, isn’t it?

        2. avatar Dan W says:

          I thought you was hung?

          I am.

        3. avatar Voldamort says:

          Oops. I forgot about that kind of hung. So I guess men CAN be hung. “That hanged man was really hung!”
          I’ve never seen a man hanged, but I’ve heard they often get a woody as they die…
          And kudos for remembering “Blazing Saddles”. Most of the young people today have never heard of it.

    2. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      @ Dog of War
      ‘How Have We Fallen So Far?’

      “Outside Independence Hall when the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended, Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

      One could make the case that we have done a rather lousy job of keeping it.

      1. avatar Voldamort says:

        Have we ever. From the illegal removal of the 13th Amendment in 1812, to the plot to tear the country apart in 1860; from the start of the endless false flags in 1899, 1913, 1916, 1929, 1941, 1964… Our list of failures is almost endless. And the vast majority of them committed well before either of us was ever born…
        I once saw an old lady write a letter to the editor bemoaning the “young people of today” letting their country down because they’re distracted by computers and cell phones.
        She almost had it correct. Young people let their country down because humans are so easily distracted, true enough. What she didn’t realize was that the distractions weren’t computers but steam powered locomotives and the telephone…. Right idea, wrong time zone.

  9. avatar MLee says:

    So glad I live alone. My dogs have never once called the cops on me.

  10. avatar GS650G says:

    Women never lie. Ask any family court judge.

  11. avatar pwrserge says:

    … and people wonder why I consider burning at the stake to be too good a fate for feminazis.

    1. avatar Dan W says:

      I said above that letting them vote was the first mistake. I think you might be right and the problem goes back farther.

      1. avatar ‘liljoe says:

        Problem is you paint every woman with one brush, kind of the way they paint every gun owner, or every man with one brush. It doesn’t work. It basically says you are a misogynist, which means you are just an ass. Or you are just a troll trying to make the rest of us look bad, completely ignoring that many women own guns and are on this website.

        Nice try making us all look bad, now move on!

        At least pwrserge is pointing just at Feminazis. Which makes more sense. I’d argue every type of nazi should be ridiculed. Not burned in the classic sense though 🙂

        1. avatar Sal Chichon says:

          Calling someone a (gasp!) misogynist doesn’t mean that person is wrong for pointing out that ever since we gave women the vote, the country has skewed to the left. Women are naturally self centered, while men are naturally altruistic. Mom’s Demand Action is a thing after all.

          So, if being a misogynist makes somebody an ass, according to you, then I’d rather be an ass, instead of a dumbass like you who puts his blinders on.

  12. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    No bogus “Red Flag” complaint will ever be prosecuted and everyone knows this.

    1. avatar Alan says:

      Would you care to make a nominal bet, say $1.00 on that? Feel free to reply.

      1. avatar GomeznSA says:

        Alan – He Would Lose – as the article stated a man in Maryland was already killed when the coppers showed up at 0500 with a red flag order. Turns out the order was issued due to a complaint from a relative who was mad at the victim for a really silly reason. Doesn’t matter though how silly it was as the owner is now DEAD. Honestly, I am surprised that the death toll has risen dramatically.

  13. avatar Alan says:

    Might it be that we, as a society and or as individuals, take your pick, have gone to hell in the proverbial hand basket? As in my view, 2 plus 2 continue to equal 4, my view of the thing would, by some, be considered suspect.

  14. avatar Ralph says:

    “who wants state troopers rummaging through your underwear drawer?”

    I wouldn’t mind the rummaging if they just stopped that ridiculous sniffing.

  15. avatar William says:

    Red flag laws are government sanctioned Murder by proxy. The government has set up system whereby minimum due process is in play and maximum force is applied. Innocent civilians have already died at the hands of the police executing no-knock redflag warrants at zero dark thirty busting into home of unsuspecting citizens who responded to an intrusion into their homes and are shot and killed, often to include other family members and pets. These laws cannot stand.

  16. avatar Mick says:

    This isn’t just a “government overreach is bad” editorial, it’s also a “Just stay single, it’s the best way to protect yourself” editorial.

  17. avatar Sam Hill says:

    Just read an article about 51 percent of people want to rewrite the first amendment to current PC standards, eliminate hate speech, and anything else that could possibly be construed as an insult.
    Why don’t we just forget the Constitution altogether and leave Trump as President for life. Let him make up the rules as we go along. Obviously won’t need any senators or representatives, they’ll have to go find an HONEST JOB somewhere. The more I think about this, it might not be such a bad idea especially the part about doing away with the leeches in congress. The end.

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  19. avatar Sal Chichon says:

    The 2nd Amendment is a Men’s Rights issue!

  20. avatar Someone says:

    “Why would we voluntarily create avenues for people to harass gun owners with no real repercussions for abuse of the system? Most importantly, why would we allow a confiscation system that seems to simultaneously impact so many of our constitutional rights at the same time?”

    If by “we” you mean leftist scum that pushes for this crap, it’s simply to help in their ongoing campaign to disarm us. By “us” I mean everyday law abiding Americans. Leftists need us good and defenseless before they can go ahead with their final solution and bring socialist utopia to those left over.

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