McClaughry: Congress and more red flag laws

By John McClaughry

An important provision in the compromise firearms violence package that was debated in the U.S. Senate is the extreme risk protection order, or red flag law. The Senate package contains millions of dollars for states to create red flag laws, designed to put firearms out of the reach of individuals deemed likely to use them to harm others.

The most challenging part of such legislation is determining just who those individuals are, the likelihood that they will harm others, and the due process rights of individuals subjected to a red flag order.

During the Vermont gun control contest of 2018, the Legislature and governor quietly enacted our red flag law — Title 13, chapter 85 — with at least the tacit acceptance of the defenders of firearms rights. I thought at the time that the law was exceptionally well done, in granting carefully limited powers to remove firearms from specified individuals, protect their rights, and avoid the government taking possession of the firearms in question. I would have preferred a sunset provision to allow evaluation of the law in practice, but otherwise it was well worth enacting, especially since it focused on persons rather than on inanimate firearms. I’m not aware of any problems or abuses that have arisen since its passage.

But why is Congress throwing millions of dollars to states to pay for enactment of red flag laws? Just send them Vermont’s Act 97 of 2018.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

4 thoughts on “McClaughry: Congress and more red flag laws

  1. You’re not aware of any problems or abuses that have arisen since its passage?

    I would call the seizure of an uninvolved relative’s firearms because a grade school student made a comment an abuse of the law.

    See Middlebury Police Department Press Release from December 18, 2018 4:00 p.m.


    Heller vs District of Columbia 2008 –

    McDonald vs Chicago 2010 –

    Caniglia vs Strom 2021 –

    If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense, which is paramount to all positive forms of government; and which, against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success, than against those of the rulers of an individual State. In a single State, if the persons entrusted with supreme power became usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions or districts, of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource, except in their courage and despair. Alexander Hamilton – Federalist 28

  3. Red flag laws have been overruled by the Supreme Court and these new
    ones will be also under the leadership of the Great Judge Clarence Thomas the
    upholder of the Constitution… Red flag laws are ripe for corruption and we’ve all
    seen how politically corrupt the judicial as well as the political system has become
    Just look at the last election that no court will even hear the overwhelming
    evidence of fraud..

  4. The Federal Government and present leadership can only shovel taxpayer money at a problem. They are not willing to sit down and do the work of understanding a problem and developing smart plans that can actually executed. Elimination of all things fossil fuel without a solution is a good example. “Never let a crisis go to waste”

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