A body is taken from the scene where multiple people were shot at a FedEx Ground facility in Indianapolis, Friday, April 16, 2021. A gunman killed several people and wounded others before taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, police said. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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One of big gun control pushes by the BidenHarris administration is the effort to get more states to enact their own “red flag” laws. Laws under which family members, friends, coworkers or police (depending on each state’s law) can ask a judge to issue a gun confiscation order…at a hearing in which the gun owner isn’t required to be present.

The ostensible idea behind these laws is to get firearms out of the hands of those who are suspected of being a risk to themselves or others. The sticky part of that, of course, is determining who represents an actual threat.

Oh, and then there’s the whole due process deprivation problem, whereby a person’s property is confiscated without their having their day in court. It’s only after the fact that they’re given the opportunity to petition a judge for the return of their firearms.

That brings us to the case of Brandon Scott Hole. He’s the severely broken individual who murdered eight people at an Indianapolis FedEx facility last week and injured even more before killing himself. Hole was enough of a concern to his family that they contacted local law enforcement last year out of concern that he might commit “suicide by cop.”

Not only did local police confiscate Hole’s shotgun last March, but the FBI investigated him to try to determine if he was a threat for terrorist or “hate crime” activity. They found no evidence of that, but the shotgun was never returned to him.

So when Hole went on his shooting spree, the question naturally arose…how did he get the gun he used? Wouldn’t he have been prohibited under Indiana’s red flag law?

Well, no. That’s not due to a “loophole” in the law, but because the local prosecutor chose not to petition the court within the required 14 days after the shotgun was confiscated. Why? Because, as Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears told reporters, he didn’t want to give the shotgun back.

From the Associated Press . . .

The “red flag” legislation, passed in Indiana in 2005 and also in effect in other states, allows police or courts to seize guns from people who show warning signs of violence. Police seized a pump-action shotgun from Hole, then 18, in March 2020 after they received the call from his mother.

But prosecutors were limited in their ability to prepare a “red flag” case due to a 2019 change in the law that requires courts to make a “good-faith effort” to hold a hearing within 14 days. An additional amendment required them to file an affidavit with the court within 48 hours.

“This individual was taken and treated by medical professionals and he was cut loose,” and was not even prescribed any medication, Mears said. “The risk is, if we move forward with that (red flag) process and lose, we have to give that firearm back to that person. That’s not something we were willing to do.”

What he wasn’t willing to do was return the shotgun.

Psychiatrists had examined Hole had let him go. Mears said that, because of that, he was worried he couldn’t make the case that Hole should continue to be deprived of his guns under the Indiana red flag law. So rather than argue that point in court, he just let the matter slide…and held onto the gun.

That succeeded in keeping the shotgun out of Hole’s hands, who apparently made no attempt to get it back. But the pass by the psychiatrists and the lack of a determination by the court also ensured that Hole would be able to legally buy more firearms, something he did twice in the following months. Those were the guns he used to murder those eight people last week.

The prosecutor’s actions — or inaction — have one benefit. They clearly highlight the problems inherent with red flag laws.

First there are the obvious due process considerations. A gun owner’s property is taken without their having an opportunity to argue the matter in court. Never mind the potential for abuse of that process by ex spouses, feuding neighbors, angry coworkers…whomever.

Then the gun owner has to secure legal representation — an expensive proposition — to petition the court for the return of their property. That may be why Hole didn’t try to get his shotgun back.

As for the 14-day window to make a case in front of a judge, Mears’ argument that the time period is too short to make a “good-faith” argument is weak. Arguing that the the gun should be held is a pretty low bar for the state to make. How many judges are going to rule against a six-month confiscation extension request while authorities try to find out if the gun owner is really mentally ill?

red flag rights due process
Bigstock

Then there’s the fact that Mears obviously felt just fine about abusing the system. He decided he’d rather not go through the red flag petition process in order to hold onto Hole’s gun indefinitely. It was the easiest way to disarm him and (Mears thought incorrectly) keep him that way.

Apparently Mears didn’t think through the process. Or was ignorant of the fact that Hole could still legally purchase firearms if he wanted.

None of the above should be construed as an argument in favor of due process-free gun confiscations under red flag laws. As we’ve pointed out before, there is no such thing as a “good” red flag law. There are plenty of provisions and procedures already in place in every state for examining and, if necessary, holding an individual who is suspected of being harmful to himself or others.

But if these laws are going to be in place, as they are in 20 states, the process shouldn’t be abused as the Marion County Prosecutor did. Mears should have had to make his case in front of a judge for keeping Hole’s gun in the two weeks after it was confiscated. By ignoring that process, he left Hole free to legally buy more guns.

In the end, of course, it probably didn’t make a difference. As we’ve seen time and time again, criminals and crazies can always get a gun if they want one. If they can’t legally buy one, they’ll steal one, buy one of the black market, or have a straw purchaser buy one for them. The only people who are truly inconvenienced and disarmed by red flag and other gun control laws are responsible law-abiding gun owners.

The questions Indianans should be asking themselves after the FedEx shooting is, why didn’t the psychiatrists who examined Hole correctly diagnose him? Why did Prosector Mears feel free to abuse the system in order to confiscate a firearm (allowing Hole to legally buy more)? And why have a “red flag” law on the books that only violates lawful gun owners’ rights, but doesn’t stop killers from killing?

 

 

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53 COMMENTS

  1. This case is a banner study in why Red Flag Laws are BAD law. The harm the innocent while doing nothing to help the mentally ill, or stop evil. They are just an avenue for politicians to say “See we did something”, even if it is wrong!

    • Red flag laws focus on keeping guns away from the crazy. Lets pretend that this guy was free to roam around but not allowed to have guns anymore. What’s to keep him from buying $5 of gasoline and burning his coworkers to death (See Japan incident where crazy guy killed 30+ of his coworkers with gasoline). What about the FedEx employee who tried to crash the FedEx freight airplane he was flying in to the facility where he worked?
      IF anything is to be detained it’s the person, not the guns or the gasoline… IF IT IS WARRANTED BY A COURT OF LAW. Not by a infringement on rights like a red flag law.

  2. Did Hole voluntarily submit to psychological evaluation/treatment? If directed to undergo evaluation and treatment, isn’t that supposed to be declared on the ATF 4473? If so, and Hole lied on the 4473, doesn’t that make later purchases illegal?

    While the prosecutor may have failed to file the red flag order timely, aren’t authorities required to enter the psychological order into the NICS database in a short time?

  3. I think the whole situation is hilarious (though the deaths are obviously tragic). The gun-grabbers are grasping at straws with all of the gun laws they propose. The proposed infringements just don’t work. Whatever hare-brained ideas they come up with are totally ineffective.

    Maybe, eventually (I’m not holding my breath), they’ll go after the true root causes of gun violence. But perhaps, just perhaps, it is not gun violence they really care about. Maybe, just maybe, they want to disarm us all so we’re defenseless against their wet-dream communist revolution. The useful idiots in Everytown and Moms are going to be surprised when they find themselves pushed by commies against the wall to receive their reward for helping the revolution.

    • As usual they aren’t interested in having an honest conversation or finding actual solutions to anything that doesn’t increase their power.

  4. “Maybe, eventually (I’m not holding my breath), they’ll go after the true root causes of gun violence.”

    They already are. The root cause of gun violence is the law-abiding gun owner who walks around volcanically angry, and “snaps” at the least provocation; killing everyone in sight. You know, “deplorables”.

  5. “Then the gun owner has to secure legal representation — an expensive proposition — to petition the court for the return of their property.”

    Ya think?

    Perhaps we should consider fighting legal fire with legal fire.

    2A friendly lawyers could organize a ‘Pro Bono’ legal defense organization structured along the lines of poverty ‘Legal Aid’ societies.

    It would provide the pro bono lawyers valuable court experience they could use in their legal careers.

    (Or, more likely, I should just go full ‘Airplane’ and quit sniffing glue, or main-lining heroin… 😉 )

      • While basic coverage starts at about $11 a month, I would bet are upgrades to that coverage that cost more.
        Many of the people targeted with red flag laws have a protection gun or 3 and not much money. Even $132 a year for basic coverage is money many people can not justify spending. I did not investigate further because I give no one my info until I know the cost, I hate being put in data banks with the threat of them sharing info with other commercial firms or the government.
        I am sure that useful coverage is much more than basic.

      • “Join US Lawshield. They’ll represent you…”

        I was referring to those not enrolled in such organizations, and without the means to hire competent representation.

        Joe Six-Pack having his firearms seized by a scummy DA like the subject of this article. Someone like him needs an advocate, and some lawyers need court experience.

        Let’s help them find each other…

    • This prosecutor is damned because he didn’t…and didn’t.

      He illegally kept the gun, even though he’s required to give the victim of property seizure a chance to get it back. And then he sat on his thumb while the guy whose gun he basically stole bought more and finally proved that he really was a danger to everyone.

      Just like every progressive idea, red flag laws are the worst of both worlds. They can’t do what they’re advertised to do; the government power inevitably gets abused; the root problem gets worse; and normal, peaceful people *always* get screwed.

      • “the government power inevitably gets abused; the root problem gets worse; and normal, peaceful people *always* get screwed.”

        That’s the name of the game. It works well for a select group of people.

  6. “The question on the 4473 asks if the buyer has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution. ”

    Thanx. Was under the impression that an involuntary stay/detainment at a mental ward in a hospital constituted “mental institution”. Guess a psych eval at a doctor office wouldn’t qualify, regardless of the reason for the eval.

    • Committed to, means a judge ordered it .
      I can’t remember did Holes get Court recommended and take it? There’s a big difference.

    • The instructions for 4473 Question 21F say that a “observation hold” is not a prohibiting event. Which makes sense when you consider that observation holds are often used as punishment for contempt of cop.

  7. “And why have a “red flag” law on the books that only violates lawful gun owners’ rights, but doesn’t stop killers from killing?”

    Because harassing lawful gun owners and violating their rights is the point. It’s a feature — THE salient feature — not a bug.

  8. At the very least, Hole’s NICS check for the first purchase should have come back as a pause/hold. But with no data, how could it? He really should have been monitored and watched. But where is his mother after he came back with a clean bill of mental health?

    • mine fist tryout gunm purr chess was a red flagged No.
      States and circumstances making a difference, I would have thought Hole would have been NICS red flagged until some things got cleared up. That would have been 3 days in the least .

    • If someone put my name in and red flagged me, I would certainly never them know I purchased another. His mother would be the last person he told.

  9. Remember, psychiatry is not a medical science where objective science is practiced. It is subjective and the biases of the psychiatrist influence whether someone is adjudicated as mentally fit or unfit. Basically it is feelings of a third party.

    There are some out there who practice psychiatry as professionals, but the majority seem to be more interested in prescribing psychotropic medications than to listen to someone and understand whether they are really a danger or not.

    The psychiatrists who examined this individual may have just given a cursory examination, maybe asked a few open ended questions, and did not take the appropriate time to actually talk to and listen to him. Most of us here can sit and talk with someone and figure them out better than most psychiatrists do. Especially those who were combat arms NCOs.

    I would be most curious to see the notes from the psychiatrist and the interview.

    • Well, saw off half his head and say he has a brain injury that can’t be fixed.
      A wing Rm.7
      Physiatrist saw their mistakes. And fixed it

  10. The Air Force didn’t file the paperwork after an Airman was convicted of domestic violence. So he got a legal gun and shot up a church and Texas. And now the prosecutors in Indiana failed to process the paperwork. and another defective person was able to get a legal gun. District Attorney’s have already testified that they don’t want to have to file this kind of paperwork. Because it’s just more work for them. That was their Congressional testimony two years ago.

    State-level gun rights groups should be using this testimony in radio and TV ads. To support the point and more gun laws are useless.

  11. This whole story just gets stranger and stranger.

    A violent, killer Brony posting online about meeting Applejack in the afterlife in his suicide note… and now this.

    If anyone in this story actually owns or owned a Brony Jar, the story might be nearing peak absurdity.

        • “A post timestamped 10:19 p.m., less than an hour before the shooting, featured a photo of the cartoon pony named Applejack. “I hope that I can be with Applejack in the afterlife, my life has no meaning without her,” the post said.”

          Yeah right guns are the problem. Okay

        • “why didn’t the psychiatrists who examined Hole correctly diagnose him?”

          Because psychiatry in the average practitioner’s hands is largely voodoo? (*cough* Bandy Lee *cough*)

          I mean, come on — the doc entirely overlooked this psychosis? Not the gun thing, his sexual attachment to a cartoon horse…?

        • I really didn’t…. I mean… I had to look “brony” up.

          Part of me is gleefully entertained. Another is absolutely horrified… and that’s BEFORE you consider the deranged rampage.

  12. The entire discussion is about mental health and red flag laws and incompetent prosecutors. But communists want it this way. Its on purpose. The communists want lots of mass murders and mental cases to get guns and shoot up workplaces and schools.

    Every terrorist or mental case who killed in the US was under the eye of the FBI. Its all about using the crises to sway public opinion to disarm Mr and Mrs America. The Biden communists want lots of mass murder by guns. And they will use this to disarm the law abiding, which is the untimate goal

    • Prosecuter should be personally liable for failure, sued, disbarred.

      This is a good example of why a red flag law won’t work, you take away a weapon but not the actual threat, the person. So there isn’t anything stopping the person, if they really are a threat, from acting on it in any other way they choose. And if they weren’t really a threat to begin with, you can’t tell if the red flag worked because nothing happened, no crime occurred, so you can’t tell if you stopped a crime or if no crime would have happened in the first place.

      • “…you take away a weapon but not the actual threat, the person. ..”
        And now said person is severely pi$$ed off that the police took their gun. The guns are in custody but the person is not. Just how does TPTB think this person is going to react?

  13. It’s a strange country indeed when laws can’t stop bad people from doing bad things but do stop good people from doing good things.

    The little sh!t Hole might have gotten jammed up for not wearing a stupid, ineffective non-medical mask but had no impediments to bumping off eight of his fellow Americans. The FedEx facility was no only a “gun free zone” where people could not defend themselves, but also a “phone free” zone so the victims couldn’t even beg for help.

    The Second Amendment exists to protect us from government mob rule. Yeah, we have the tools. But do we have the [email protected] to use them? I don’t think so.

  14. “I did not investigate further because I give no one my info until I know the cost,”

    US LawShield made a presentation at the shooting range. There was a rep from LawShield, one of the program attorneys, and the Sheriff. The cost was $10, maybe none; can’t remember. The program elements were clearly presented, and there were pamphlets available. This was some 8yrs ago. Researched all the other “legal defense” programs available at the time. LawShield was not a reimbursement program of pre-paid legal representation, but a direct coverage of expenses from the git-go.

    The only real complication I found was that basic coverage was only for the state of residence. travel outside the resident state required an additional fee, but could be permanent, or temporary (use-as-needed). single use coverage was very economical, allowing one to avoid paying for travel to every state, if not needed. To date, I have received zero spam/junk mail as a result of being a member.

  15. Don’t remember a question about how many guns one owns. Thinking an applicant would, if asked, admit to owning a gun. Why else seek self-defense prepaid legal representation? So, if an applicant owns hundreds of firearms, simply claiming one gun should suffice.

  16. It’s as I said: The government was responsible. Intentionally so. They need these shootings to happen to demonize gun ownership.

  17. The failure in Red Flag laws is they address the firearms not the scary person. While laws do exist to examine persons suspected to be dangerously mentally ill they are inadequate. As are the number of secure hospital facilities and staff. Also, the training of those staff, the training of cops, prosecutors and judges is all anything from inadequate to nonexistent.

    We do not have a gun problem in America. We have a crazy people problem.

    Which is the most complex and vexing, and expensive, sort of problem to deal with.

    Thus, we argue about guns instead. Solves nothing but it does manage to keep lots of people entertained.

  18. That Law came out of the Indiana Legislature and was not or not adequately run through a review process with the agencies which would be involved in the process. I do not know whose fault this could be but one thing is for sure it received sufficient publicity when passed for someone to ask who is in charge and how will it work. And now that it hasn’t what the hell is Indiana doing about it?????????????? A few comments on the news for 2 days and all is quiet.

  19. If guns killed people, we would all be dead! Guns stop more crime than all the police or laws on the books in all the jurisdictions in this country.

  20. Red flag laws are also abused by police departments. In Washington and Colorado, there have been cases where instead of a cop doing all the “probable cause” paperwork to bring in a suspect, they simply call in a “red flag” report, and authorize themselves to skip all the due process. Ironically, some chick red flagged a Colorado cop by (falsely) claiming they had offspring, and the cops got all butthurt and refused to honor it. Well, what was the “intimate relationship” those other cops had with the other guys they red-flagged to avoid due process?

  21. You can’t rely on a government employee to do their job. Elected to the position or hired for the position. You are on your own. But you can publicly hold them accountable for their failures. And you should. Because if you don’t work to hold them accountable? Then you are the one who was a failure.

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