On Oct. 3, the Collegian published an opinion by Julia Mullins arguing in favor of emergency risk protection orders. Often billed as a reasonable solution to lower gun violence rates, these “red flag laws” are not only ineffective, but even dangerous on several levels.
These bills are often pushed as anti-suicide measures, but in the study cited by Ms. Mullins it was found that 90 to 95 percent of the orders issued were against people who did not pose an actual threat to themselves. The primary author of that study stated that he believes due process is not being followed. In Connecticut, the first state to enact such laws, the execution of such orders accompanied an overall increase in suicide rates.
In most cases, seizure orders are executed without the accused being made aware of the allegations against them and even before the police show up at their front door. The entire process following the actual seizing of weapons is the epitome of “guilty until proven innocent” judicial malpractice. In most states, the accused are not entitled to legal representation.
While these laws are obviously a gross violation of the Second Amendment, the problems go deeper.
If the justice system in America means anything at all, it is the right to a fair trial. We cannot allow punishment to begin before a fair trial commences. Emergency risk protection orders allow law enforcement to act as judge, jury, and — in at least one case already — executioner.
It’s not just firearm owners that should oppose red flag laws but anyone who believes people should not be prosecuted for a crime they haven’t committed.
Clint Pagurko is a senior studying history and German.