By Rachel Malone
Last summer, a Red Flag Gun Confiscation scheme was proposed in Texas. Under that proposal, the ability to own guns could have been taken away from a person who hadn’t committed any crime and wasn’t even accused of committing a crime. The grassroots made it abundantly clear they weren’t going to stand for it because of the inherent lack of due process. They stood up and made their voice heard, and the “red flag” proposals went away — temporarily.
Now the legislature is back with “mental health” proposals that are actually long-term gun control and “red flag” in disguise.
First, the Threat Assessment Teams. SB 11 and other bills would mandate that schools instruct teachers, staff, and students in how to identify a threat. The standards are open-ended. Schools are instructed to utilize resources from the Texas School Safety Center. This Center’s current resources include suggestive statements identifying legal gun possession as a potential threat. That’s a problem.
In addition, compounding this problem, multiple bills seek to stigmatize and marginalize gun ownership. They are blatant attempts to paint the image that people who own guns, or shoot them, or carry them, or have them in their cars are atypical, may be prone to violence, and should be viewed with suspicion. They want to control the way you think about guns, and that’s wrong.
They also want even more control over firearms ownership. Texas already has a long list of people who may not possess firearms — some legislators would like to see that extended to include people who have been assigned fiduciaries to manage their affairs. Nationwide, this category would cover more than a quarter of a million military veterans.
So here’s why all of this is such a problem.
It violates due process to take away guns when there’s not even probable cause of a crime. This is far too low of a threshold for removal of a Constitutional right.
These proposals focus on psychiatric treatment — but they don’t recognize that psychiatric drugs may actually make these individuals MORE violent instead of less. This leads to the conclusion that modern mental health treatment may be a very WRONG solution for reducing violence.
Experts say that it is very difficult — perhaps impossible — to accurately predict future violence. Yet these proposals are based around being able to make these predictions!
Even if the legislative intent is pure, and even if the legislature wouldn’t dream of a law being used nefariously against gun owners, an open-ended law can always be interpreted in a hostile way that marginalizes populations such as gun owners.
Firearms are a valuable tool. Stigmatizing firearm ownership & safe, legal use of gun is wrong, and it’s dangerous. A gun is a useful defensive tool. My gun gives me a fighting chance at saving my life — or maybe yours. Guns are a tool. They are one of many tools that can be used for good or for evil, but in the hands of civilians, guns are used so much more often to protect innocent life than to harm it.
Don’t look to the nanny state to keep you safe. Their solution is to spread a wider net of control over your behavior. But evil will always exist, and all the government control in the world can’t stop it. The most effective legislative solution would be to repeal restrictions on law-abiding citizens carrying guns. Government needs to get the heck out of our lives and start respecting our personal responsibility of protecting ourselves.
Gun Owners of America stands firmly behind individual rights. That means we believe in limited government, we stand against unlawful searches and seizures, we honor property rights, and we work to uphold your Constitutional right to keep and bear arms in defense of yourself and your liberty. We will never compromise on those beliefs. And the legislature had better take note.
Friedman, Richard. (2017) “Psychiatrists Can’t Stop Mass Killers.” New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/
Get in the Fight to Stop Red Flag Laws! (2019) Gun Owners of America. https://gunowners.org/get-in-
Gun Ownership & Carry Prohibitions. (2018) Gun Owners of America, Texas. https://drive.google.com/file/
Kirschner, David, Ph.D. (2014) “Mass Shooters Received Only Limited Treatment.” National Psychologist.
Lott, John, Ph.D. (2019) “Defensive Gun Uses By People Legally Carrying Guns Over the Past Two Months.” Crime Prevention Research Center. https://crimeresearch.org/
Lott, John, Ph.D. (2019) “Why we shouldn’t depend on mental health professionals to detect mass killers.” Crime Prevention Research Center.
Malone, Rachel (2018). “TWO VIEWS: ‘Red flag’ law makes us vulnerable to ‘thought police’”. Austin American-Statesman. https://www.statesman.com/
Svitek, Patrick & McCullough, Jolie. (2018) “Prospects for “red flag” gun law in Texas plummet as Abbott sees “coalescence” against it.” The Texas Tribune. PATRICK SVITEK AND JOLIE MCCULLOUGH https://www.texastribune.org/
The School Shooter: A Threat Assessment Perspective (1999). FBI.
Veterans Administration Has Revoked 260,000 Veterans’ Gun Rights… In Last 90 Days! (2016) Gun Owners of America. https://gunowners.org/
Rachel Malone is Texas Director of Gun Owners of America.