At the risk of infuriating the membership, I'm changing my mind just a little on Red Flags. The issues I have with Red Flags are that they can bypass due process, and are susceptible to misuse. The case in Maryland last year where a SIL flagged her BIL, apparently over (pick one) inheritance or politics - I've heard both. She found an anti-gun judge who was more than willing to issue an ex parte warrant, and now the man is dead. The SIL is off scot-free. For the longest time I was absolutely against Red Flags in any way, shape, or form.
SOMEHOW we need to catch people that are going off the rails. I don't think any of us deny we need to look at people who are making active noises on social media that they are going to commit an atrocity. I believe one guy was just arrested for making those threats very recently in FL. Per USA Today "The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Tristan Scott Wix, 25, of Daytona Beach was arrested Friday and charged with making threats to commit a mass shooting. Sheriff's deputies began investigating after they were alerted to multiple texts Wix allegedly sent with his plans to commit a mass shooting. The office did not say to whom Wix sent the messages."
So, somebody said something.
Today, and for some time now - how do we go after someone who is obviously mentally ill? Clearly whacko, needs to be institutionalized? We have a process. It was in the 1890s and early 1900s we used to involuntarily commit eccentric Aunt Jane because she was too much trouble, or rich Uncle Fred because he wasn't dying fast enough and someone wanted to get their hands on his estate. They were shoved into barbaric insane asylums, lobotomized, drugged. There were so many egregious instances strict laws were passed requiring full-on trials with witnesses for both sides before anyone could be committed. They fixed the issue with proper laws about the subject.
So I think it is also true we need to look at Red Flags in much the same light. Here is what I would insist on before supporting any sort of Red Flag - and I have no idea if this is what the NRA is thinking about or not.
1. No "imminent danger" exclusions to due-process. Today there are Red Flag laws with due process, but that can be skipped if the threat is claimed to be "imminent". NO EXCEPTIONS, Due Process or it's unconstitutional.
2. Serious non-negotiable penalties when people are NOT ultimately Red Flagged. This is to avoid someone getting miffed and doing the equivalent of "swatting" the person.
a. The accuser pays 100% of the accused's legal fees
b. The accuser pays for all lost wages by the accused
c. The accuser pays a hefty fine if the accused lost his job due to the accusation
d. The accuser pays a hefty fine for what has amounted to slander.
3. if someone is making overt threats, arrest them. Making a threat is already illegal. Then go through any sort of Red Flag due process after that, process the arrest for the threat separately.
On item 2, I would work the law so that a judge cannot say "well, you had just cause to be concerned, but even though we find he's OK anyway, no fines". If they can't convict, they must acquit, and fine the crap out of the accuser.
I want this to be called only in the most obvious cases. The Cruz kid, Parkland, would be exactly one that should have had a Red Flag, there were signs out the wazoo he was going real bad. This kid in Volusia, making overt threats on Facebook - yep, intervene. Even if all he was doing was being a keyboard warrior, that crap gotta stop. A few arrests for being an idiot might slow down this internet one-upmanship that's going on.
Of course, civil discussion would be appreciated! Thoughts? Alternatives???