Red Flag Laws
Our right to bear arms is under attack in ways that were unimaginable even just a few years ago. The anti-gun lobby’s latest ploy to eradicate our Second Amendment rights and bring ruin to our way of life is already underway. They have given this ploy an innocent-sounding title: Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs).
Otherwise known as “red flag” laws, they allow the government to forcibly seize your firearms simply because someone says you may pose a risk to yourself or others – even if there is no basis to their accusation.
Imagine if someone were given the ability to make claims about you that were demonstrably false but carried the weight of law; and further, that those claims were considered true until you prove them wrong, or in other words, you were guilty of them until proven innocent. “Red flag” laws embody this backwards precedent that flies in the face of our justice system’s bedrock “innocent until proven guilty” principle.
Sound crazy and un-American? House Bill 83, sponsored by progressive Representatives Daymon Ely and Joy Garratt, would enable people to do exactly this. It would also force every law-abiding gun owner in New Mexico to live under a constant threat of condemnation and confiscation.
All it takes is an emboldened individual to appear before a judge and request one of these orders. If granted, the judge would effectively require law enforcement officials to enter your home to confiscate your firearms – before you even have a chance to make your case.
Both the bill proposed by Reps. Ely and Garratt in New Mexico and the concept underlying these “red flag” laws are wildly extreme and have no basis in logic, fact, or data.
Not only do they enable the government to infringe on the due process and Second Amendment rights of the innocent, they also pose a serious risk to public safety. An armed and allegedly dangerous individual could retaliate at the sight of law enforcement officers entering their home, leaving both officers and civilians in danger. Additionally, such orders could be weaponized against law-abiding, responsible citizens by an angry relative, roommate, or former spouse, leaving the entire weight of the legal system standing between them and the rightful possession of their firearms.
Despite their numerous flaws, New Mexico was on the brink of adopting a “red flag” law of its own during this year’s legislative session. Fortunately, it garnered unprecedented opposition from across the state and country, with 30 New Mexico sheriffs, the Western Sheriffs Association, the ACLU, and even the New Mexico Attorney General speaking out against it.
The Western Sheriffs Association passed a resolution declaring that “red flag” laws are “logistically impossible to carry out and would likely be a violation of the 2nd and 4th Amendments as well as the due process clause of the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office said the bill “raises Fourth Amendment implications” and would potentially be violating the rights of citizens under both the U.S. Constitution and the New Mexico Constitution.
And the ACLU opposed a similar measure in Rhode Island because it enables individuals to weaponize the legal system without evidence, could allow political targeting based on speech, and gives the government “broad authority to search the person’s property.”
This battle is important for everyone in New Mexico, even if you don’t own a gun. The “red flag” initiative does away with due process and the presumption of innocence altogether. Small steps like these are the beginning of a larger process to erode all of our civil liberties and we need to protect the Second Amendment to keep them intact.
Despite these grave concerns from law enforcement officials, the Attorney General’s Office, and civil rights advocates, progressive leadership rammed the gun confiscation bill through the New Mexico House of Representatives. Thankfully, time ran out before they could also force it through the state Senate.
Unfortunately, gun-hating progressives and their extremist allies are unlikely to accept defeat and will try to bring this dangerous bill back session after session until their radical agenda is written into law.
We can’t let them win. Don’t wait until they pass this law to wake up and fight. The time to stand is now, before your constitutional rights are erased.