Skip to main content

TRI In The News

Red Flag Laws and the Consequences of Good Intentions

“The major due process concern with ERPOs (red flag gun laws) is that they allow a person to be deprived of property (a gun) and liberty (their Second Amendment right) before they are granted an opportunity to be heard,” John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, told WhoWhatWhy. Whitehead foresaw the potential for abuse by police “for malicious ends, such as to harass the target.” He also cited the Maryland incident as an example of the possibility that “violent confrontations” might occur “when police arrive unexpectedly to seize a person’s firearms.” But the most chilling concern that Whitehead identified was the possible misuse of an ERPO by police “to conduct an end run around the limits of the Fourth Amendment’s ban on warrantless searches and seizures.” Whitehead also agreed with the Rhode Island ACLU’s concerns about the law’s failure to provide for legal assistance. “The target can apply for assistance from a public defender,” he said, “but there is no guarantee that such assistance will be granted, forcing the target to either represent themselves or expend significant amounts to hire an attorney.”

Read more at Salon.

Donate