The Federal Threat Assessment, Prevention and Safety (TAPS) Act – A Complete Analysis

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By Andrew Tuohy

I first learned of the Threat Assessment, Prevention, and Safety (TAPS) Act (H.R. 838) when I saw a tweet by Texas representative Dan Crenshaw. Because he mentioned it in the same tweet as state red flag laws, I immediately assumed it was some sort of federal red flag law. Since I have constitutional concerns about red flag laws, my initial impression of the TAPS Act was thus not an entirely positive one.

The first thing I did was to Google it and came up with a one-page PDF from the office of Rep. Brian Babin, who introduced the Act, along with the full text of the bill and also several blog articles and Facebook posts which did not hold back anything in their vitriolic criticism of the TAPS Act. After reading all of these sources, spending several days researching the issue, and reaching out to both sides for comment, I was ready to sit down and write this article.

This is not intended to advocate for or against the TAPS Act – only to provide an analysis of each section in order to explain what it means and what it does. I encourage you to read the full text of the TAPS Act. It’s not terribly long…in fact, this article is longer, by word count, than the Act itself.

Section 1 – The Title

Section 1 of the TAPS Act simply gives us an explanation of the name. TAPS stands for “Threat Assessment, Prevention, and Safety.”

Section 2 – “Sense of Congress”

Section 2 is the part of the bill where Congress explains why the bill exists. There is nothing functional or impactful here – just an expression that something should be done about indiscriminate incidents of targeted violence, that the US can do something about it, and that one way to do something about it is to get all the different levels of government together to talk about how to do something.

Section 3 – Definitions

Section 3 is a long one, because it defines all the various terms used in the bill. Most of these are pretty benign, like defining “educational entities” and “mental health service professional.” This section also defines “state” to include DC, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, the (American) Marianas, and American Samoa.

There is, however, one very important definition in this section. That is §3(2), “Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management,” which I will refer to as BTAM throughout this article. It describes this process as identifying people who exhibit “patterns of concerning behavior that indicate an interest, motive, intention, or capability of carrying out an act of violence.”

It says that BTAM involves “investigating and gathering information from multiple sources to assess” whether such people “pose a threat based on articulable facts.” Finally, it includes “the subsequent management of such a threat, if necessary.”

There are a couple of ways to look at this. As Campaign for Liberty said in their article on the TAPS Act, “How Liberty Dies,” behavioral threat assessment via the TAPS Act “destroys virtually half the Bill of Rights. It allows government bureaucrats to spy on you without a warrant (4th Amendment) and take away your gun rights (2nd Amendment) – without your day in court, due process, or even you knowing about it (5th and 6th Amendments).

“Or at least you will not know about it until a SWAT team kicks in your door, shoots your dog, and stands on your throat at 3:00 a.m. And all of this will be based on a bureaucrat’s assessment that you somehow, in some manner, pose a threat to their Big Government schemes or could fit the profile of a one-day ‘possible’ terrorist.”

Another way to look at it is by researching the history of behavioral threat assessment. One of its foremost advocates is Gavin de Becker, whose book “The Gift of Fear” has long been on the list of books I recommend everyone read. In fact, I gave out two dozen copies of that book to my classmates and friends last fall.

Mr. de Becker states that his MOSAIC threat assessment system “is not profiling in that it is always applied to an actual known individual, and it always explores actual behavior and circumstance.”

Behavioral threat assessment programs are currently used by the Secret Service and US Marshals to weed out garden variety steam-blowing from genuine threats to elected officials and judges. If these programs, in operation for decades, have resulted in blatant 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment violations, I am not aware of them.

Section 4 – Creation of a Task Force

Section 4 is the meat of the bill. It directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish something called the “Joint Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management Task Force” within 30 days of the enactment of the act. This “task force” has a goal of coming up with a plan, called a “national strategy,” to prevent targeted violence through behavioral threat assessment and management.

The task force is supposed to consider the different needs of communities across the United States. Perhaps most importantly, the “national strategy” is not to be considered a national standard. The way I read that is that the national standard is just a recommendation which states and local governments are free to follow or ignore as they see fit.

The task force is supposed to have 24 or fewer members from a variety of different backgrounds. Two are supposed to be from non-government organizations that have experience in behavioral threat assessment. Two are supposed to be “mental health service professionals.” One is supposed to be a state or local prosecutor (a Guamanian prosecutor might qualify). Two should come from “educational entities.” The list goes on, including the Secret Service, FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, US Marshals, VA, DSS, NCIS, and more.

One common thread: all of these people are supposed to be experts in behavioral threat assessment and management. But they can also consult with outside experts who aren’t on the task force.

They aren’t going to be paid more for being on the task force, and they’ll be a part of it until their boss (say, the director of the FBI if they came from the FBI) replaces them.

I saw a comment on Facebook about how the next subsection, §4(d)(1), allowed the task force to make up whatever rule they wanted in order to “deal with” someone identified as a threat. That subsection reads, in full:

(d) Operating Rules and Procedures.–
(1) Rules and procedures.–Any member of the Task Force may
propose to develop or change existing operating rules and
procedures of the Task Force consistent with the functions of
the Task Force. Any change to such operating rules and
procedures shall be adopted upon a majority vote of the Task
Force.

Reading this in context, as is appropriate for legal documents, what this means is that if the Task Force originally met on Tuesdays at 7:30 and wanted to switch to Wednesdays at 8, they could vote to do that. Or they could vote to submit their findings in .pdf form instead of .docx format.

Objectively speaking, “Develop or change existing operating rules and procedures of the Task Force consistent with the functions of the Task Force” is not the same as “change the Constitution of the United States of America.”

The next section goes over the staffing for the task force, including a staff director who will make no more than $166,500 at current executive pay rates, and no more than three additional staff who will be paid according to the standard GS scale. They can also hire experts and consultants for “temporary and intermittent” services. Finally, other federal agencies and departments send over personnel to help the task force out, but their services will be reimbursable – as I see it, out of the task force’s budget.

There’s a short blurb about the powers of the task force – how any member of the task force, if authorized, can take any action which the task force is authorized by this section. What are the powers of the task force? We’re getting to that.

Under subsection (g), the Task Force is supposed to “secure directly” from federal departments or agencies the “official data” necessary to accomplish its duties. This data is supposed to be “subject to applicable privacy laws and regulations.” As with the definition of behavioral threat assessment and management, there is likely a less sinister definition of “official data” than some might believe, especially as the data is coming from federal agencies and not, say, social media companies providing a list of everyone who likes the NRA on Facebook.

The next two subsections are very boring and deal with acquiring administrative services and contracting with government and private entities for other necessary services. Nothing to see here, move along.

Suddenly, we’ve arrived at the Report subsection, §4(j). It says that no later than 120 days after the “enactment of the Act,” the Task Force will submit its report to the appropriate committees of Congress and the DHS Secretary. The report will include recommendations on the “national strategy” and how to develop and implement said national strategy. Finally, in §4(k), we learn that the Task Force will “terminate” 180 days after the “enactment of the Act” and in §4(l) that the Task Force will have one million dollars to carry out everything described in Section 4.

For those of you counting the days, the numbers mean that if the Task Force is organized at the end of its allowed one month after the Act becomes law, it has three months to come up with its report, then it dissolves two months after that. From these deadlines I derive that the Task Force is not an ongoing group or council intended to pass judgment on individuals but a bunch of eggheads who get together to write a report and then go back to their old jobs. But let’s take a look at what the report needs to contain. That’s section 5 of the act.

Section 5 – What Does the Task Force Report Have to Contain?

Rather than let the Task Force come up with whatever report it decided to submit, the bill requires some pretty specific things be included. All of them must be part of that §4(j) report submitted within 120 days of the “enactment of the Act.”

First up is the use of “existing… infrastructure, workforce, and experience including the use of personnel, communication channels, and information sharing capabilities of fusion centers” and “a model behavioral threat assessment and management process.” The way I read this section is that they’re saying, “hey, let’s not reinvent the wheel here – how can we best use the people and networks and facilities we have to get the right information to the people who need it now?”

Next there’s the “unit support program,” which has the goal of helping out “government agencies and private entities in the implementation of” behavioral threat assessment and management units, consulting on real-world complex behavioral threat assessment and management cases or programs, promote coordination between government agencies and private entities with protective public safety responsibilities, and support collaboration between the BTAM units of various government agencies at all levels.

As I see it, the Unit Support Program is the potatoes to the Task Force’s meat. This is where the strategies developed would be disseminated, where local units could consult with the head honchos who have more experience, and where people would make sure that critical information didn’t disappear into a data vacuum.

There are also, under §5(3) and §5(4), a Training Program and a School Violence Prevention Program. The former, as the name implies, is intended to help lower level agencies spin up their own behavioral threat assessment units, while the latter is basically a copy of the Unit Support Program described above but with a focus on schools.

Section 5 closes out with the requirement that the report include recommendations about how to keep mental health support professionals in the loop during the behavioral threat assessment process, subject to federal and state laws.

Section 6 – Congress Gets a Say

Section 6 says that the DHS Secretary will develop the national strategy and “consider” the recommendations made by the Task Force under the previous section in developing the strategy, but also consider the “diverse needs and existing resources of different communities.” I’m not quite sure that needed to be in there – it’s doubtful that a one-size-fits-all solution would make sense – but I suppose it might placate rural sheriffs’ offices who don’t want to have a program designed for urban police departments foisted upon them.

The second half of §6 is the important bit. It says that the national strategy shall take effect 180 days after the “enactment of the act” (I love that phrase for some reason) unless Congress enacts a joint resolution of disapproval of the national strategy during that 180-day period.

So if (most likely between the 120-day report deadline and the 180-day implementation deadline) Congress decides that it doesn’t want the gun owner reeducation camps proposed by the Task Force, Congress can make the whole thing come to a screeching halt through a joint resolution – that is, both houses of Congress.

There are no gun owner reeducation camps, of course, comrade. I’ll hold your rifle for safekeeping while you hop in the back of this deuce-and-a-half headed for the Berkeley Wellness Center for Freedom from Firearms.

Section 7 – Implementation

Section 7 is where the rubber meets the road. While it may have seemed like we were talking about implementation in Section 5, that was a list of requirements of what needed to be in the “national strategy” recommendation report – Section 7 is the lodestar for making it happen. Basically, the DHS Secretary is going to put the plan in motion and begin assisting agencies at all levels of government, plus private entities “with protective or public safety responsibilities”, with information and training services.

There’s going to be a senior official within DHS who is put in charge of running the program, and they’re going to need to make sure everyone involved – those agencies and entities – are talking to each other about the program, plus they’ll have to be mindful of the finances and budgeting involved as well as what else is going on at the federal level related to the “national strategy.” If that sounds like a lot for one person, it is, and I’m sure this is going to involve an office with some staff.

Or maybe not. The next section says the Secretary can enter into contracts with public and private organizations which have BTAM expertise to “assist with the implementation” of the national strategy. There are several such organizations out there, and I’m sure they’ll be jockeying for federal contract dollars when the time comes. I foresee a bid protest.

The program has to have a website! The website has to be interactive. It has to have data. Wow. Sadly, the website can’t have “classified or law enforcement sensitive data or processes and sources.” I guess that means no Uber-like user interface showing how close your FEMA bus is to the camp.

There must be an annual report to Congress and it has to include (1) information on how many people are working on the program, (2) how many contracts have been entered into, (3, 4, 5, 6) how many states, agencies, and entities (including educational entities) are participating, (7, 8) a formal evaluation of how the program is working (or not working) and how well all the different feds are getting along, (9) a look at how things might change in the future regarding threats, and (10) accounting of waivers under §8(d), which we’ll get to later. Finally, there has to be an annual briefing to Congressional committees, at which I presume details of the annual report will be discussed.

Section 8 – Grants, But No, Not For Affordable Housing

To get cash-strapped state, tribal, local, educational, and NGO types to stand up their own BTAM units, the feds are helpfully going to throw money at the problem. “Eligible entities,” which I just gave a list of in the previous sentence, can apply for grants by providing information required by DHS. The entity must provide matching funds, but not on a 50/50 basis – only “not less than” 10 percent of the amount of the grant. Will some agencies choose to pay more than 10 percent? I doubt it.

What if they can’t come up with any matching funds? That’s where the §8(d) waivers come in. If an entity demonstrates a need for a waiver or reduction in the matching funds amount, DHS “may” grant their request.

Section 9 – $$$

This section is important because it not only outlines how many dollars can be spent administering the bill, but how those dollars may not be spent.

The program, including implementation (§7) and grants (§8), has a $25 million budget for each of the four fiscal years it would be in operation. That money cannot be spent “to train any individual in the use of a firearm”, but more importantly, it cannot be spent to “encourage or discourage the otherwise legal ownership and use of firearms.”

The way I interpret this phrase, that means the behavioral threat assessment management units couldn’t, for example, go out and start teaching school kids to inform on their parents’ AR-15s. Nor could they do a host of other things that would lead to anti-gun results. On the other hand, they also can’t advocate for people to go out and buy their own guns.

Finally, this section says that just because its dollars can’t be spent on firearms training, that doesn’t have any effect on other laws which authorize providing firearms or training. Fairly self-explanatory.

Summary

To write this article, I read the entire bill three times. I spent several days parsing the details of various sections. I reached out to a Congressional office and to Campaign for Liberty and to conservative social media personality John Burk (both CFL and John Burk have spoken out against the bill). I asked the Congressional office how the bill might contain Constitutional violations, the specific meaning of §4(d)(1), and why certain agencies were listed as sources of experts while others were not. I asked CFL and John Burk to identify which sections of the bill, specifically, they felt were violations of the Bill of Rights.

While I received a very rapid response from a Congressional staffer speaking on background, I did not receive a response from either Campaign for Liberty or John Burk.

As I said at the beginning, this article is not intended to advocate for or against the bill. I’ve only sprinkled lame jokes throughout because sitting down to analyze a bill is a very boring endeavor. I’m not telling any of you to call your Congressional representative and ask them to vote for it or vote against it. You should make up your own mind after reading the bill.

What you should not do, however, is assume that the TAPS Act tears up the Bill of Rights. It doesn’t. I pushed and pulled and stretched my interpretation of every sentence of the bill. I can’t see any Constitutional violations. I certainly don’t see any 2nd, 4th, 5th, or 6th Amendment violations. They just aren’t there. I have no idea where those criticisms are coming from. They are simply not based in reality.

We should be evaluating the TAPS Act on the merits of what it actually says, not an emotional reaction to a boogeyman that doesn’t exist. If anyone reading this can identify any part of the TAPS Act that is a violation of our Constitutional rights, please point that out to me. I would like to know – honestly.

The TAPS Act is also not a red flag law, and you shouldn’t confuse the two. What the TAPS Act does is form a group of nerds to make some recommendations on behavioral threat assessment, give Congress the option to take them or not, then give DHS the responsibility of training various agencies and entities in behavioral threat assessment. If you think that’s a good idea, fine. If you think that’s a bad idea, fine. But it doesn’t authorize any specific actions by any government official, at any level, against any private citizen.

 

This article originally appeared at omahaoutdoors.com and is reprinted here with permission. 

comments

  1. avatar barnbwt says:

    So it sounds like the bill isn’t all that significant, in the best reading. So why pass it then? Further more, why give it away as a victory for clearly anti-gun politicians? We all saw exactly how much good will was generated for our side by willingly giving up the *previous* incremental ratchet of gun rights prohibition; Fix NICS.

    If the FBI can’t reliably stop people it has under active observation as part of an ongoing sting operation, I have my doubts this ridiculous bureaucratic cure-all will be any more effective. Best case, it’s like the Baker Act and presents such a high hurdle that it is rarely acted on; worst case, all those checks & balances quickly become rubber-stamp approvals to disarm/investigate Americans who have committed no crimes.

    1. avatar Biatec says:

      I wish people would say our current laws don’t work so let’s just repeal them.

      I agree with your post completely.

      Sorry on my phone currently. Hard to tell how it looks

    2. avatar Hank says:

      That’s where I’m at. This isn’t a red flag law or a ban, but it is your typical government response. Create committee, create task force, issue report, allocate funds, allocate more funds, increase spending, issue another report and follow that up with another committee. I’m not gonna freak out if this passes, but it seems like it will be a job perfect for government: wasting a ton of time and money to come up with the same information that was available beforehand.

      Now, I will say this about studies, reports, or the CDC studies. I’m not opposed to them in theory. If they are done correctly and completely transparently so everyone can see the results first hand, without the time the media or government can skew the data. Because at the end of the day, the data is on our side. However, we all know that’s never going to happen in an honest way.

      1. avatar Dan W. says:

        Keep the assholes out of trouble.

    3. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “So it sounds like the bill isn’t all that significant, in the best reading. So why pass it then?”

      Elementary, Watson.

      The purpose of the law is to build the ‘framework’ that can be modified (‘strengthened’) in the future so that ‘loopholes’ can be closed.

      Such as, expanding the list of people as much as possible who can report a ‘red flag’. As in, instead of just the immediate family reporting it, anyone else the person comes in contact with on a regular basis, like the people you work with, next door neighbors, etc.

      Get into a heated argument with someone? People who can’t control their temper shouldn’t have access to guns.

      Just *imagine* all the ways that law can be ‘strengthened’ in the future…

      1. avatar Raymond P Clark says:

        Agree. I see a slippery slope developing. I’ve reviewed federal legislation for some 16 years and to me this sets up a framework of federal cover for state and local entities to pass and implement red flag laws. They will use this federal law (if passed) as cover. Not a fan.

  2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    Oh great. Another Fed Gov Department. With our “safety” in mind.

    Just get rid of the NFA, the GCA, and allow everyone to carry without a permit, everywhere. Society would police itself and find a calmer, more peaceable level pretty darn quick after the chest-thumping idiots are weeded out by attrition.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      That may be half my state’s population there ……. possibly yours too.

      1. avatar Richard Steven Hack says:

        You say that like it’s a Bad Thing. 🙂

        1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

          Your avatar is perfect but no I would rather they live with liberty without the ability to restrict the rights of others. I can think of few crueler punishments for that sort of people.

  3. avatar Jonathan says:

    thanks for the information, after reading i’m still a staunch NO. Any power that is given to the government WILL be abused and if this gets passed I foresee endless “extensions” to this panel and if this type of thing is around when the left takes back control they are going to have a field day stripping rights away from people and getting neighbors to turn in their neighbors. We need to stop giving up ground, i’m 34 years old and there has not once in my life been an addition to our gun rights, the best we got in my life was a restoration of “assault rifles” in which congress literally had to do nothing but wait for. My entire life has been spent watching those in power slowly take away right after right and I for one am done with it. Gun owners need to either go on the offensive or go underground because it should be clear by now that when the left takes back power (and its only a matter of time until they do) guns are gone, well atleast to those law abiding citizens.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      Still not a fan of the PATRIOT act and this does nothing to inspire confidence.

      1. avatar AI338 says:

        If you’re against the USA PATRIOT act you’re probably (definitely) a terrorist. The name is simply too patriotic for any other possibility.

        1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

          Oops I was found out, aloha snackbar

    2. avatar Baidwin says:

      @Jonathan…It’s been longer than 34 years. Double that and add a few in my case. Yes, it’s time to take back our rights.

  4. avatar Fred says:

    As much as I liked Gavin de Becker’s book, remember he stated in there he is not exactly pro-gun.

    1. avatar Jerms says:

      I dont think that makes the information in the book any less valuable though…

  5. avatar Dani in WA says:

    The problem with this “Joint Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management Task Force” is it’s unspoken primary mission will be to justify it’s own existence.
    Who will be their first victim to be SWATed? By proxy, of course.
    I’ll have to actually go read it when I have time.

  6. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Thank you for the article. I have time available, but would not have even begun the effort.

    After reading the bill, my sense of it is it looks much like the mishmash that created DHA and NIA. An overlapping sausage that will at least result in the same level of confusion of authorities, organization, and budgets. The worst of it is, like DHS and NIA, government agents will not resist the temptation to make TAPS more than it is. Which brings us to your comment:
    “I certainly don’t see any 2nd, 4th, 5th, or 6th Amendment violations. They just aren’t there. I have no idea where those criticisms are coming from. ”

    The fear/concern is coming from the no need to prove it history of government encroachment on individual freedom for the last 119 yrs. Government never stays inside its boundaries. Words in legislation/law are always twisted to the disadvantage of the populace whenever convenient for government. Next, agencies are not transitory, they remain forever, and always drift toward authoritarianism. So, while you may not, on the face of the text, see constitutional problems, I assure you such will arise. The people who implement “strategies” and “standards” always look for ways to weasleword things such that we end up with Alice in Wonderland, “…the words mean what I say they mean. Nothing more, nothing less”.

    1. avatar Samuel Rodriguez says:

      Exactly…people make too much of it…its for crazy people who cant function in the real world but are well off to not be considered special needs or drug addicts who fried their brains who all they do is watch or hear nothing but violence and love it..those are the ones who get a good idea to ahoot shit up..thats what they want to stop..not joe who wants a gun to protect himself in home

  7. avatar Mad Max says:

    Gee, it would be so much easier and cheaper (and would protect liberty) if everyone were just equipped and prepared to defend themselves against any threat.

    Threat Level: Normal

    Handgun, check.
    Loaded & chambered, check.
    Spare loaded mags, check.
    Situational awareness, check.

    Threat Level: High

    In addition to above:

    Body armour, check.
    Bullet resistant helmet, check.
    AR-15, check.
    Loaded & chambered, check.
    Spare loaded mags, check

    Threat Level: Red

    In addition to all above:

    BAR, check.
    Grenade launcher, check…😊

    1. avatar Dan W. says:

      Fire team of close friends.

  8. avatar former water walker says:

    So the “Crenshaw is a RINO” act will “do something”?!? What a load of guano. Our 1 eyed wonder effed up. Mebbe an antifa azzwhole will vote for you!

    1. avatar Chief Censor says:

      Relax. The shrapnel may have made it into his brain. It’s the terrorists’ fault.

  9. avatar Chief Censor says:

    Threat assessments are created after a dossier is. You must collect info on the subject to give them a threat level. Once a threat level is determined other agencies can act on the threat according to their level. If the threat has reached a particular level a red flag gun confiscation order can be issued by local authorities.

    This effort is to prevent crime before it happens. The combination of spying/threat assessment and gun confiscation orders are the necessary tools for the government to stop people, whom may become criminals in the future, from becoming a potential threat in the present.

    The government [FBI] will no longer have to entrap people in order to arrest them for a crime like they do now.

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      Minority Report, but without the hot tub chicks?

  10. avatar Hank says:

    What I see here, is politicians desperately trying to solve something that government can’t solve. The reason that we’re seeing so many instances of mass murder has everything to do with culture, and nothing to do with politics or other abstract concepts.

    It’s the result of two new things in human history. One, mass/social media, and two, the collapse of non government social power structures, (religion and morals). The mellenials and zoomers are the first generations in human history to be raised non religious, and without personal morals. Wether you believe in a religious deity or not, you must respect and come to terms with the detrimental effect the implosion of religion has had on the human mind. In its place it’s replaced with nihilism and nanny state government. Humanity spent several thousand years organizing itself around various forms of government and spiritual beliefs, and now technology has removed those spiritual beliefs. You can’t expect that when something fundamental to human society collapses that there aren’t repercussions. So, we have a small segment of that society who’s deranged and sees no ultimate consequence for their actions. And, you have a large segment of the population that chooses suicide because life now has no real point. I’m not writing this to bash atheists, but, logically, there is zero point to any existence if atheism is correct. And that’s the point many of these young people now come too. You then add that with the deranged influence of social media and mass media, and you can quickly see feedback loop.

    Personally I think we’re witnessing the collapse of civilization. Remember, it doesn’t require a nuclear war or massive natural disaster. The very advanced Romans collapsed due to a combination of political corruption and societal earthquakes from shifting religions and extreme decadence. Sounds familiar to me.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Society (social norms/mores) and religion are infringements on individual freedom; can’t have that.

      1. avatar Baldwin says:

        Hate the infringement not the society or the religion.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Hate the infringement not the society or the religion.”

          Saw what you did there.

          Nice.

      2. avatar Hank says:

        Religion is not an infringement on anything. In America no one forces you to pay penance or attend church. But soon openly expressing religious faith could get you placed in jail.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Religion is not an infringement on anything.”

          Any religion that requires you to agree to adhere to doctrinal control over any facet of your life is an infringement of human freedom, is it not?

          Besides, my comment was ridicule. (Hate it when it is necessary to explain the joke; means it wasn’t funny)

        2. avatar Hank says:

          I thought it might be but figured I’d bite anyway because I enjoy a good discussion. Now, to counter your point, I’d say that while a religion can very much indeed infringe on your rights, in America religion itself has far less power to do so. For instance you can simply leave a church that is overbearing.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “I’d say that while a religion can very much indeed infringe on your rights, in America religion itself has far less power to do so. ”

          Regardless of the piece of land where religion exists, if there are any rules or requirements, that religion is infringing on individual freedom. This is even true when there is no government to enforce the religion.

      3. avatar Richard Steven Hack says:

        No, we can’t – but we should.

        Social mores and religion are infringements on personal freedom. But they have limited power without the state – which is the agent of both society and religion that actually does the infringement. And the state throughout history has always ended up being run by people with an interest in infringement. And in fact, there is evidence that the origin of the state was precisely because certain people wanted to infringe on freedom.

        The only people who support the existence of the state are people who are afraid they can’t take care of themselves in the absence of one.

        Which is pretty much everyone except a handful. That’s the result of ten thousand years of propaganda and a result of primate hierarchical behavior. Which isn’t going to change any time soon.

        So expect the state to continue to erode your rights – until you take up a gun and drop the state. Hint: Voting won’t do it. As we anarchists say, “If voting could change the system, it would be illegal” and “Don’t vote – it only encourages them.”

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “But they have limited power without the state – which is the agent of both society and religion that actually does the infringement.”

          Religion enforced by state power is certainly an infringement, but even without the state, someone who wishes to adhere to a religion, properly practice a religion, believes in the tenants of a religion finds their individual freedom infringed. A person can always quit a religion, but while a member, the religion rules the individual.

        2. avatar Joel says:

          Reality is that humans are social creatures. Very few are truly lone wolfs. Most are pack hunters. In a pack, there has to be some rule of law/moral code. Without it, the pack devours it’s self.

          All of written history reflects this. Government and religion have provided rule of law and moral code for centuries. Currently both are deteriorating. Which, incidentally, has also happened cyclically for all of written history.

  11. avatar Will Drider says:

    “What the TAPS Act does is form a group of nerds to make some recommendations on behavioral threat assessment….”

    And that means they can recommend where the proverbial “Line in the sand” threshold for action: Red Flag Law, probable cause for Arrest, search and seizure, wire tap and communications surveillance, Limits on 1A free Speech (pro gun, anti Gov or against Acts by Fed, State or Local gov preceived as Tyrannical). Will a “Go f#*k yourself” to coworker, boss or neighbor be a threat under their recommendations? What about the gun guy that reads all the stories on mass shootings and the impact on his 2A Rights is he now “obsessed with mass shooting” as we often hear from Media? What if a “prepper” has two dozen loaded Mags in his house? Or a guy with a dozen ARs in his house? Is a single guy with several loaded firearms preposition for his quick accessibility now a wack job threat?
    All depends what they reccomend doesn’t it?

    The Bill is just creating another pre validated gov source to that will be used to expand the weakening of individual Rights. How many pro Civil Rights (including 2A) Member positions are listed?

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    So, no advice from Con Law experts, especially 2A experts? I wonder why.

  13. avatar GunnyGene says:

    Well, you trust the TAPS act, the Task Force, and all the trickle down from it all you want. After all, they have ‘good intentions – Right? Right? 😉

  14. avatar GunnyGene says:

    Well, you trust the TAPS act, the Task Force, and all the trickle down from it all you want. After all, they have ‘good intentions’ – Right? Right? 😉

  15. avatar Enuf says:

    After Columbine the US Secret Service and the US Dept of Education wwere tasked to study the problem and issue a report. They did that and more. The SAFE SCHOOLS INITIATIVE is a plan and an approach that uses the Secret Service’s experience in preventing planned attacks, applying them in schools. This approach is used in the school district where me daughter attended high school (she’s in college now). When she entered high school I got in touch with the school resource officer, the principal, district officials and local politicians to find out if they were using violence prevention to keep my kid safe.

    What I learned was they not ony knew about the Safe Schools Initiative but they had been using it and other approaches for years. There are other approaches, all focused on preventing the violence. They work.

    This proposed law doesn’t bother me all that much. If it results in funding to implement existing violence prevention approaches in school districts all over the country, it would be money well enough spent. I say “well enough” because I am not so foolish as to imagine money will be efficiently spent, so I’ll settle for getting the word out. Getting more schools practicing what works so well in my kid’s school district.

    Violence prevention works, we need more people talking about it and doing it!

    1. avatar Hank says:

      So what you’re saying is this was done already, the answer is there already, but no one in government likes the answer. Typical government bullshit.

  16. avatar Fudds McKenzie says:

    I’m getting that 1990’s feeling, like when the pro-gun side was lousy with fudds, industry leaders were betraying us for seperate peaces, and bureaucrats and legislaters were running wild.

    You tools didn’t learn. You’re still looking for fudds with shotguns and rubber boots. Ask not for whom the fudd-bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

  17. avatar GS650G says:

    One thing is for sure, they aren’t doing this to make it easier to own guns or protect ourselves.

  18. You have been declared an “Enemy of The State!” Keep YOUR comments of Liberty, Life, Freedom, and the Pursuit of Happiness to YOURSELF! Other TAP assessments for such behavior for “Red Flags”. Buzzwords like, Patriots, Molon Labe, The Declaration of Independence, etc…

  19. avatar DCChristian says:

    I have studied the proposed act, and while I agree that some of the specific wording is not as scary as some have suggested, some overall factors are:
    •With the “behavioral” focus, a majority of the “experts” on the committee will likely be predisposed to ideas such as “gun possession=elevated threat.”
    •The very existence of the entity and its report suggests that such “behavioral prophecy” is superior to common sense approaches such as restrictions on so-called “gun-free zones, nation-wide concealed carry, and universal facility defense (such as bolstering defense even if specific creditable assessments have not been received for an area).
    •Congress will oversimplify the report, and use it as justification for red flag, gun confiscation, registration and other ineffective, rights-violating, dangerous, and just plain BAD legislation.

    1. avatar enuf says:

      Incredibly wrong. These methods have been in place and working for years.

      Early Detection,
      Threat Assessment &
      Planned Intervention

      … already work in school districts around the country. This proposed law is merely a sign that Congress is not paying any attention to what already exists and works.

      They could solve this with one or two committee hearings and write a bill to fund what already works, spreading it out everywhere.

      Instead, do a new study.

      Because repeating work Already completed is kinda one of their favorite things.

  20. avatar UpInArms says:

    I only need to know two words about TAPS: Mission Creep

  21. avatar MDH says:

    Fascism encoded. If passed, this is all that”s needed to deprive every law abiding US Citizen of virtually every Constitutional right, and fully guarantee the surveillance of every possible aspect of our all too human existence for interpretation and possible revocation by government overseers.

    Think of TSA employees suddenly empowered to revoke your constitutional rights at will based upon guidelines and arbitrary criteria, and you begin to get the picture.

    This legislation is to Constitutional Rights, as the repeal of the ‘individual mandate’ is to Obamacare.

    The right of American Citizens to keep and bear arms is NOT negotiable.

  22. avatar B.D. says:

    History is doomed to repeat itself. Good job Democrats. You are modern Nazi’s.

    1. avatar MDH says:

      Not NAZIs (National Socialists). That term is far too mild for these neo-fascist totalitarian f*ckwads.

      What you (we) are now dealing with (truly) are globalist Communist revolutionaries who wish to overthrow, and replace our Constitutional Republic with a Marxist totalitarian regime.

      This isn’t complicated. To accomplish this, you (we) must first be disarmed.

  23. avatar Kate says:

    I am part of a school threat assessment team in Texas that is actually doing something very similar. Texas Senate bill 11 makes a multidisciplinary threat assessment team now required in all the public schools in Texas. As a person who has had to develop the procedures I have to say that there are many holes in the system but the team is there to try to stop the next mass shooting. Now this is being proposed and I think we need to see how it works in Texas before we put it nation wide but I think it is on the right track. Our country as a hole is divided and all the agencies are not communicating when they should be. Several school across the country are already doing this. And Virginia has been doing this since 2006 (I believe). It has its flaws but it is a step in the right direction. At least someone is doing something. The Secret service and the department of education did investigate school mass shootings and found the best way to prevent school shootings is to have a multidisciplinary threat assessment team. https://www.dhs.gov/publication/enhancing-school-safety-using-threat-assessment-model

    If this is the best thing for schools that we have found why not try it?
    it might not be THE answer but it is a step in the correct direction.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Our country as a hole…”

      We may be getting closer to than than is comfortable.

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