Red Flag Legislation Raising Concerns Among Veterans
As mass shootings in the United States have increased over the past decade, so have calls for new laws aimed at preventing them. While there is agreement that work needs to be done to prevent these incidents, recent “Red Flag” legislation has raised concern among American veterans regarding gun confiscation and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
What is a Red Flag law?
A red flag law is a gun-violence protection law that allows law enforcement and families to petition courts to remove firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or to themselves. Fourteen states have implemented some form of a red flag law since 2005.
Concerns Among Veterans
Opponents of red flag laws argue that the laws allow the judicial system to strip citizens of their 2nd Amendment rights without due process. Rather than needing probable cause that someone has committed a crime, opponents argue that red flag laws are based on the supposition that a crime could occur based on the subject in question.
In recent years, veterans have already faced attacks on their 2nd Amendment rights. In 2016, it was reported that the VA had referred over 250,000 veterans, who they determined could not manage their finances, to the FBI as people who should not own firearms. Fast forward to today, veterans feel that they are facing yet another assault on their right to gun ownership.
For veterans, many of whom suffer from PTSD, Red Flag laws could mean the loss of their 2nd Amendment rights based on the assumption that they are mentally unfit to own firearms. In North Dakota, for example, where a new piece of Red Flag legislation has been introduced, concerned veterans groups are speaking out on how this could affect not only the 2nd Amendment rights of veterans, but also their willingness to seek help for PTSD. They argue that veterans may be less inclined to seek help for PTSD if they are under threat of having their 2nd Amendment rights stripped as a result.
The debate over Red Flag laws is sure to increase over the coming months and years. Although the laws are very likely good-faith measures to curb gun violence in the United States, it is a very slippery slope to strip the rights of citizens and veterans of their 2nd Amendment rights without real due process.