The Second Amendment Foundation is calling for an investigation of possible gun law violations by NBC News and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office while producing and filming an undercover “hidden camera investigation” at a gun show focusing on sales of so-called “ghost gun” kits.

Gun Rights’ Expert Says Media Narrative Advocates “Constitutionally Suspect Gun Control Laws”

The media wants Americans to believe that they remain at grave risk of gun violence because Extreme Risk Protection Orders - commonly known as “red flag laws” - are vastly underutilized.

The media wants Americans to believe that they remain at grave risk of gun violence because Extreme Risk Protection Orders – commonly known as “red flag laws” – are vastly underutilized.

Such laws are designed to empower cops and judges to seize firearms of those deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. Florida has such a law and even many Republicans embrace it.  

But after the Associated Press offered a report suggesting such laws should be exercised with more frequency and vigor, gun rights’ expert Cam Edwards has questions.

Writing at the pro-Second Amendment website Bearing Arms, Edwards, citing the AP, pointed out that 19 states have red-flag laws. And just since 2020, those states have used those statutes about 15,000 times.

That comes to about one time for every 10,000 people in those states, Edwards noted.

“That seems like a lot to me,” he wrote recently, “especially since these measures are typically billed as a tool to be deployed in only the most dire of circumstances when a gun owner has been deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.”

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Yet, as the AP reported, “Experts called that woefully low and not nearly enough to make a dent in gun violence, considering the millions of firearms in circulation and countless potential warning signs law enforcement officers encounter from gun owners every day.”

The AP cited one Duke University professor who said the numbers make it appear “as if the law doesn’t exist,” while an Indiana University prof added that the number of people caught with red flag laws “is likely infinitesimal.”

But the AP also noted that the alleged experts it quoted “wouldn’t speculate how many red flag removal orders would be necessary to make a difference.”

Edwards suggested the red flag is a red herring.

When citing mental health as the rationale for seizing guns, it’s judges who make the decision, not psychologists, and after doing so, they don’t order treatment, Edwards wrote.

Edwards also picked apart the argument for ramping up red-flag seizures.

“If these academics can determine that the current numbers are too low, why can’t they pin down the ‘right’ number of red flag gun seizures? And who’s to say that the figures are too low to begin with?” he asked.

The AP’s experts appear to base their judgment on the fact that violent crime, homicides, and suicides have climbed in some states with red-flag laws. Yet, Edwards argued, “But that’s not evidence that the law is being underused. It could also be a sign that the law [is] … not very effective at preventing truly dangerous people from doing dangerous things.”

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The AP cited studies from Connecticut and Indiana that suggest red flags laws save one life for each 10 to 20 guns that are taken by authorities. But what about the others, Edwards wants to know.

“How many of them took their own life after having their guns removed, and how many of them weren’t actually a danger to themselves or others to begin with?” he wrote.

“My objections to ‘red flag’ laws aren’t just based on the lack of due process afforded to those who are the subject of these petitions, though that’s definitely a real concern. I think they’re also a dodge that allows politicians to say they’re ‘doing something’ without having to address the underlying problems in our mental health systems across the country.”

Edwards pointed out that no states have moved to enact new red flag laws even after President Joe Biden signed a bill incentivizing them to do so.

“If we’re going to seriously address those individuals who are a legitimate danger to themselves or others, it won’t be through constitutionally suspect gun control laws that masquerade as mental health measures,” said Edwards, “but by ensuring that individuals in crisis get the help they need to live to see another day.”

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Free Press.

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