A tragedy, a senseless murder streak by a mentally ill person. At the time of this writing, little more than that first sentence is known about the shooter. Reportedly, he checked himself in to a mental hospital for treatment, hearing voices with thoughts of shooting up a military base. Instead, like most mass murders, he opted for soft targets and the most innocent among us.
The anti-gun crowd was quick to take full advantage of the crisis. Details are still uncertain, the killer is on the loose, and the calls for more gun control dominated certain headlines. The following was put out in a statement by Vice President Kamala Harris, “Let us also continue to speak truth about the moment we are in. …It does not have to be this way.
It is a false choice to suggest we must choose between either upholding the Second Amendment or passing reasonable gun safety laws to save lives. Congress can and must make background checks universal. Pass red flag laws. Ban high-capacity magazines. And renew the assault weapons ban.”
I was not surprised. I do, however, agree with that we should not let a crisis go to waste. No, I am not in favor of repealing or severely limiting the Second Amendment. Red Flag laws are a false positive fraught with danger and seek to strip law-abiding citizens of their constitutional right to self-defense before being examined by medical doctor or adjudicated in court with the opportunity to mount a defense against accusations.
Maine was not without laws. Lawmakers and gun rights groups recognized the rights of the individual under the Second Amendment, but also the threat looming from a very small number of mentally unstable individuals who commit horrible crimes. Maine did not opt for red flag laws. Instead, it adopted yellow flag laws.
Under yellow flag laws, law enforcement can detain someone it suspects is mentally ill and poses a threat to themselves or others. The law differs from red flag laws in that it requires police first to get a medical practitioner to evaluate the person and find them to be a threat before police can petition a judge to order the seizure of personal firearms.
Gun-control advocates criticized the yellow flag laws as ham-handed and unlikely to be used by families who don’t want to traumatize a loved one by having them taken into custody.
The statement by gun control advocates makes no sense. They are afraid of “traumatizing a loved one by having them taken into custody,” but are supposed to have no problem with calling the police to come in, strip away their loved ones 2A rights and confiscate their firearms, while leaving them on the street to potentially commit heinous acts while awaiting a court date? Is that making sense to anyone?
And since when did criminals or those with severe mental breakdowns worry about the law? The Lewiston Maine shooter already recognized his problem and voluntary checked himself into a mental facility. Certainly, there was a breakdown, but that requires investigation… innocent until proven guilty, right? Perhaps he was treated, medicated, and deemed to be safe, but later went off his meds or had some other complicating medical condition. Simply seeking mental health care is not a life sentence.
Yes, every law-abiding gun owner wants to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and those suffering certain mental conditions. We all want to prevent the next tragedy. We do not want another school shooting any more than we want kids mowed down by a bus. It is no less a tragedy when an office building is shot up with a revolver than an AR-15. But the solution is not to ban a particular firearm or type of firearm. We do not ban busses because they are big, a certain color, or could be used criminally against children.
The solution will never be another law. A law that the bad actor, by definition, will not follow. And what are the antis really upset about? What is the Vice President really upset about… that people were murdered by a criminally insane person or that a gun was used to commit the evil act?
Would they have been fine with someone driving a semi-truck through a bowling alley and killing innocent children? No! Of course not. If they think they can legislate their way out of this, why don’t they just make murder more illegal? After all, it is murder that we are upset about, right… not the tool?
Do I believe we should take full advantage of this crisis. I do. I believe law makers, and everyone concerned, should be supporting due process, involving authorities when they believe danger is lurking, and encouraging lawmakers to ensure mental health agencies and records are available to law enforcement in all states — equally.
I do not believe those suffering significant or minor mental health issues should be castigated because of their condition — not by those closest to the individual, the judicial system, social justice warriors, or anyone else. We should be taking full advantage of the crisis to get them help.
What we should be doing is encouraging treatment. Supporting those who seek help and treatment — before and after the individual’s crisis. Veteran groups have been doing a great job of this. Only then, will we have any hope of adverting a future tragedy, or gun violence as the anti-gunners would prefer to call it.