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Red flag laws, which 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted, are commonly touted as a way to stop mass shootings. But that is far from their main use. While [California Assemblymember Phil] Ting’s tally does not include information on the motivation for GVROs, data from other states indicate that a large majority of gun confiscation orders are aimed at preventing suicide, not homicide. And even when petitioners allege that someone is a danger to others, the risk of a mass shooting is bound to be infinitesimal, since such crimes account for a tiny share of gun homicides and an even tinier share of unlawful firearm use.

The focus on mass shootings is therefore highly misleading in assessing the costs and benefits of red flag laws. A more relevant question is what percentage of people subject to gun confiscation orders actually would have used a firearm to kill themselves or others. Given the weak due process protections that are typical of red flag laws, that percentage is probably pretty small.

Data from Florida and Maryland indicate that judges nearly always grant ex parte orders. In Florida, judges issue final orders about 95 percent of the time. I have not seen comparable data for California, but its “significant danger” standard is amorphous enough to allow post-hearing orders in almost every case.

Although there is no solid evidence that red flag laws have an impact on homicide rates, a few studies suggest they may prevent suicides. But even those estimates indicate that the vast majority of people disarmed by these laws—90 to 95 percent—were not actually suicidal, or at least not suicidal enough to complete the act.

If you attach no value to the constitutional rights that people lose for the duration of a red flag order, those odds may not bother you. But if you think something important is lost when the government deprives someone of the fundamental right to armed self-defense, your assessment is apt to be different.

— Jacob Sullum in Why Didn’t California’s ‘Red Flag’ Law Stop the San Jose Shooter?

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39 COMMENTS

  1. The opportunity for abuse of these laws is enormous. The fact that judges grant 95% of the requests proves that.

  2. Whatever happened to the Kevorkian Left who always viewed people killing themselves as “the right to die?” I guess harassing gun owners was just more important to them.

    • That’s what I’ve always wondered. The Left want people to be able to kill themselves by allowing some sicko doctor to pump their body full of chemicals, but the use of a firearm is horrendous. WTF is the difference? The result is the same.

      Because red flag laws are not about preventing murder or suicide. They’re about disarming Americans.

      • Only the State has the right to kill a drone. Any drone who self-terminates deprives the Powers-that-Be of revenue…besides, that selfish action is not consistent with the NEW social consciousness and One World morality.

        The State is The Benevolent Father….obey Him, work for Him, die for Him.

    • You are not alone in making this connection. If people have a right to die and a right to kill themselves then a a self-inflicted bullet to the dome is quite effective. That stated there are not enough bad words to describe suicide. Selfish, cowardly, short-sighted, evil . . . yes to all.

      • “Selfish, cowardly, short-sighted, evil . . .”

        What about those who have done horrible crimes, but – in today’s coddling and “nonjudgmental” society – are the only ones with the decency to admit what they are and what they deserve?

        Or the parasites who – in the unlikely event they have any means of support other than robbing the taxpayer – will still never come close to paying for the services they consume (much less contributing to society in general).

        And then there are snowflakes, who believe their nonexistent right to “safe spaces” outweighs everyone else’s fundamental rights of thought and expression, and wish to destroy the life, liberty, property, and careers of anyone who uses a “word” or in any way hurts their ridiculous and irrelevant little feelings.

        It is not the suicides, but the ones who remain to plague the living who deserve all the epithets you used.

        • Mmm, no, it’s still cowardly and selfish. As their previous acts that you mentioned were.

        • Hey. Guy in San Jose kills 9 folk for no reason, I consider it good form for him to blast out his crap. Why should taxpayers be out millions of dollars preserving his asshole for 50 years? What we need is a way to convince such worms to commit suicide before the mass murders, not after. Maybe a check for $50 to your charity of choice?

        • LarryinTX,
          A’Fn’men! That “good form” at the end may have been the only brave and unselfish thing he ever did.

          I like your idea! I’m generally not a believer in handouts, but I’d happily make an exception for a CN Capsule Fund.

      • Depends on why they want to kill themselves. I watched one grandfather set in a chair, raising his arm was enough to make his lips turn blue. He slowly suffocated to death from mesothelioma. Another lay in a bed blind unable to move racked with pain until he died from what has started as they think was prostate cancer that spread to his bones.

        And my own father slowly over the course of 2 years endured multiple surgeries to reduce the brain cancer so the symptoms would lesson. In the process losing himself. Towards the end I remember him tied to a chair at Thanksgiving throwing a fit because he wanted to dip a cookie in mustard. No longer able to speak and racked with seizures.

        And a MIL Pancreatic cancer slowly and painfully took her.

        It’s considered humane to end a suffering animals life. Matter of fact to let one suffer can lead to charges against you. But we humans seem to be different.

        Sorry, I get something like one of the above I’m going to opt to end it. Luckily for me as an insulin dependent diabetic I have other choices so the messy but quick ending of a bullet to the brain is not needed.

        • Because your life belongs to The State and suicide is “willful destruction of state property”.

          Better than China where people have their organs removed, before they are dead.

      • “If people have a right to die and a right to kill themselves then a a self-inflicted bullet to the dome is quite effective.”

        Only when done *correctly*.

        The sad fact of the matter is that many ‘bullet to the brain’ suicide attempts aren’t done correctly.

        The often result of a ‘gun under the chin’ suicide attempt is the bullet goes through the sinuses and eye area and maybe nicks the frontal cortex. They can linger for hours before expiring… 🙁

      • “The sad fact of the matter is that many ‘bullet to the brain’ suicide attempts aren’t done correctly.” So they need more rearward angle on the gun??? Maybe that’s why Libturds want more gun training????

  3. Disarm the proletariat – √

    Proletariat – the laboring class; especially : the class of industrial workers who lack their own means of production and hence sell their labor to live.
    (Mirriam-Webster)

    • Disarm the proletariat – √

      First, you must manipulate the prols to rise up against your enemies, create chaos and provide the opportunity to disarm them.

      • Ah, but is it the working class that is being mobilized or the indolent, ne’re-do-wells who would rather riot than work…in many cases, wealthy, privileged dependents / persons who have never bent their back or developed callouses and who do not know firsthand of the “injustices” they nightly “protest”?

        • They see themselves as working or low class. No effort goes into providing a future for themselves or their families to come, so it’s the previous generation who worked for their wealth that is to blame. Funny thing is, if they get rich, they turn into everything they hate almost instantly. Hypocrisy at its finest.

          Those who are still suckling at the teet instead of further securing their futures typically don’t do much of anything until the threat of being broke hits them.

  4. It’s a felony to commit suicide in Kansas.
    I thought ” Wow and I was just starting to cross the highway, I could have became a felon.”

    • Hmmmmm…..in Kansas, if one commits suicide, they put him in prison for life or a year, which ever is shorter??? Seems like a politician’s reasoning.

  5. You’re talking about cost and don’t even discuss the amount of money you have to pay a lawyer to defend you in one of these hearings.
    I went with CCW safe for my concealed carry insurance, because they cover the defense in red flag hearings up to $15,000.
    I have no idea what the ultimate cost would be, but even $15,000 in coverage is more than I have available to pay for a legal defense.
    So the insurance seems worth it to me

  6. Can someone redflag Moron69er, please? Someone that disingenuous and idiotic doesn’t need to own guns?

  7. They don’t even help prevent suicides. They decrease Suicide by Gun numbers slightly, but Suicide by Other Means goes up correspondingly. So in truth, they’ve prevented nothing

    • Someone who wants to commit suicide will find a way. Note Japan, South Korea, and other nations with strict gun controls and high suicide rates.

      • Japan’s Intentional Death Rate (Homicides + Suicides) is 31% HIGHER than the USA’s. Getting rid of guns will not make a nation more peaceful.

        Japan = 22.1 per 100,000
        USA = 16.8 per 100,000

  8. Soooo, it’s ” the cowardly way out ” to commit suicide ?

    As far as I am concerned, Jack Kevorkian had the right idea. Why the hell should someone who has something that renders them with NO QUALITY OF LIFE, and their daily existence is nothing but pain and suffering, with no hope for anything better; have to continue in that way just because someone else doesn’t want them to end their miserable existence ?

    Not only the financial ruin it causes…….. but the pain it causes anyone who is close to the individual to have to watch them deteriorate, knowing that there is nothing they can do to help their loved one.

    Fuck everybody and the horse they rode in on. My cremation is paid for.

    I have long maintained that when the day comes that I can’t take care of myself, I will ” take myself out.” All the necessary legal requirements at the time of my demise are taken care of.

    MY LIFE…MY RIGHT !!! And to anyone who doesn’t like it……..GFY !

    • larry shriver,
      It’s especially ridiculous when people contend that it’s wrong because they attach religious significance to your natural “time to go”; yet also hypocritically have no objection to propping up a decaying corpse as a grotesque science project long past its “time to go”.

      I can imagine the conversation: “Thanks for the invitation to eternal peace and closeness to You, but I’d prefer to keep breaking hips, forgetting my children’s names, and sitting in my own feces watching ‘Murder, She Wrote’ while the Socialist Security Administration violates ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’ on my behalf.”

  9. According to the Founders everyone has the unalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” IF you believe that then no government has the authority to prevent anyone from committing suicide. The baby murdering Democrats scream that as “My body,my choice.” Therefore any Red Flag laws that include the condition of “harm to themselves” are not consistent with our founding.

    • Glaringly obvious that you have not read the whole damn article…

      And no one was forcing you to do so, BTW.

  10. “But if you think..” was an important part of the above article, coming at the article’s end. Sad to note, thinking seems to be an ever more rare action.

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