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Will Texas Fall for Red Flag Laws?

By: José Niño

Another Texas Republican is falling for the siren song of gun control.

In an interview with Texas Public Media, ex-Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson reluctantly endorsed the idea of red flag laws as a means to curb school shootings.

“I believe, personally, that there is a way to, with respect of the Second, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Fourteenth [Amendments], and the rights of due process, a way to identify people who are a genuine threat and remove firearms from their control,” Patterson said.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), also known as red flag gun confiscation laws, are marketed as a method to disarm people who present a danger to themselves or others.

In the wake of school shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas, power-hungry politicians have looked for every means possible to ram some form of gun control down law-abiding gun owners’ throats.

And the anti-gun crowd may have just found in red flag legislation its new go-to call in the gun control playbook.

While the intentions behind red flag laws appear reasonable, the civil liberties implications of such legislation raise numerous red flags (pun intended) that should concern law-abiding gun owners nationwide.

Gunpowder Magazine’s Ted Patterson wrote an excellent piece detailing the potential dangers of red flag laws; here are the most alarming effects of these laws:

1. Devious lawyers and family members with an axe to grind can exploit these laws to harass gun owners.

Anti-gun family members, friends, or acquaintances can invent an accusation to justify the confiscation of an otherwise law-abiding gun owner’s firearm.

In their present form, many of these laws are written so broadly that gun owners could be reported for any type of violation, ranging from off-the-cuff remarks or casual disputes.

For the most trivial of actions, you could possibly find yourself in court having to fight to preserve your Second Amendment rights.

2. Indefinite time frames for gun confiscation.

There’s no telling how long ERPOs can last—weeks, months, or even a year. Gun owners would be compelled to go to court multiple times just to win their Constitutional rights back.

3. Red flag laws have bipartisan support.

For years, misguided gun owners have believed that only Democrats are capable of pushing gun control. Boy, are they wrong. Republicans in states like Colorado, Maryland, and Pennsylvania are actively pushing red flag bills. And with Jerry Patterson’s recent comments endorsing the possibility of red flag legislation, Texas could be following suit.

Texas already has lame duck representatives like Jason Villalba – no friend to gun owners – who would use a special session to force gun control through the Texas legislature.

In Jerry Patterson’s case, his support of red flag laws is ironic considering how he was the Senate author of Texas’ Concealed Carry Law that went into effect in the mid-1990s.

It’s concerning that a former elected official who moved to reform Texas gun laws would want the Lone Star State to take a step backwards.

Republicans are under the impression that compromising for the sake of pragmatism is smart politics and will make them appear as “common sense” leaders in the public’s eyes.

This thinking could not be farther from the truth. Red flag laws are a clear violation of due process rights. No elected official who claims to be in favor of limited government can get behind red flag legislation.

The power-hungry left, having never seen a gun control bill they didn’t like, will absolutely build off of these laws.

Liberals are growing more rabidly anti-gun with each passing day. They are pulling no punches when it comes to trying to restrict your rights to self-defense. Some, like former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, are going so far as to call for the complete reversal of the Second Amendment altogether.

But not all is doom and gloom in the Lone Star State.

In a press announcement, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick lashed out against Red Flag laws and declared them to be dead upon arrival should they reach the Senate floor.
Nevertheless, Second Amendment supporters should not rest on their laurels. In politics, talk is cheap.

Actions are what matter most. Patrick’s comments, while they’re an encouraging development, are not enough. Gun rights activists must remain vigilant in the next few months and be prepared to smoke out any anti-gun plots.

Remember: there’s nothing “reasonable” about red flag gun confiscation bills. Like all legislation the left dreams up, it’s just another way to invade your privacy and control what you do.

José Niño is a Venezuelan-American political activist based in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Gunpowder Magazine.