guns and mental health 1

SHREVEPORT, La. -- 2022 has seen a rash of mass shootings across the country. From Uvalde, Texas to Buffalo, N.Y., the massacre of innocents has generated a cry for new “red flag” laws.

“Red flag laws are supposed to be a way to address some of the mass shootings and mass shooters we have seen in the last few years,” said Shreveport constitutional attorney Royal Alexander.

More specifically, according to the Washington Post, here’s what red flag laws do: “Red Flag laws allow police, family members or even doctors to petition the court to take away someone’s firearms for up to a year, if they feel that person is a threat to themselves or others.”

“The problem is,” said Alexander, “it’s directly unconstitutional.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry agrees: “Our constitution went through a number of amendments that strengthen both the right to life and the right to bear arms and so I think red flag laws in the state may run afoul of Louisiana’s constitution.”

In Arkansas, Republican state Rep. Carol Dalby says red flag laws don’t seem to be a big concern to her constituents.

“I cannot think of a constituent once, who has reached out to me on this issue," said Dalby, adding when considering red flag laws, due process must always be afforded, and more.

“I think you also have to be cautious that you’re not setting it up for somebody to make a charge, when maybe it’s not even true a retaliatory measure," Dalby said.

Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson echoed Dalby’s sentiment: “The red flag law in concept sounds great. Obviously, all of us would agree we don’t want dangerous people — people with serious mental health issues -- to have access to dangerous weapons and firearms. But the problem is, many of the red flag laws being proposed, at least in Congress, don’t have due process built in. So, they can take guns away, take firearms away from law abiding citizens without and meaningful ability to defend your cause.”

In Texas, Mike Mihalski, the owner and founder of Sons of Liberty Gun Works in San Antonio, Texas, said, “So, red flag laws sound attractive because you’re trying to pre-emptively stop a crime. The problem with that is — I believe the unintended consequences of red flag laws are going to far outweigh any type of benefit. And it think there will be a lot of abuses of that power. A lot of people advocating for red flag laws are the same people that have been advocating for police reform and reduction of police resources. And I just don’t see how you reconcile those two ideas.”

“The solution is not more gun control; that’s often the knee-jerk reaction. But that is not going to solve the problem. We are at a point in our country where we have to look to the root causes all this," Johnson said. 

“How about we focus on other things in our society that really are the problem, like mental health issues?" asked Alexander.

Dalby said consideration should be given to what the laws will be designed to limit. "How are you going about limiting it? Is it even a policy you want to engage in, or is there another avenue in which the person in crisis can be helped?”

Mihalski says opponents of fed flag laws may be getting support from unexpected places

“The ACLU raised many concerns. They want it as a legitimate civil liberties issue, and I would not call the ACLU a right wing think tank," said Mihalski.

“If it were to make it to the United States Supreme Court, I think these fed flag laws are going to be declared unconstitutional," said Alexander.

Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have some form of red flag law on the books.


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