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It Looks as Though Biden Has Big Plans for Red Flag Laws

DOJ sets up a new center to promote Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

The Biden administration has cranked up its war on Second Amendment rights several more notches with the creation of a new “resource center” dedicated to bolstering the enforcement of state-level so-called red flag laws. Vice President Kamala Harris announced the creation of this new Department of Justice (DOJ) office on March 23, during a visit to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL – the scene of a 2018 mass shooting in which 17 people died.

Red flag laws allow courts to issue Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) that prohibit individuals considered to be a danger to themselves or others from possessing firearms. The DOJ’s new National Extreme Risk Protection Order Resource Center aims to essentially promote the use of red flag laws by providing information, resources, and assistance to local jurisdictions.

According to a DOJ press release, “ERPO laws … create a civil process allowing law enforcement, family members (in most states), and medical professionals or other groups (in some states) to petition a court to temporarily prohibit someone at risk of harming themselves or others from purchasing and possessing firearms for the duration of the order.” Considering the hostility with which government at all levels have often viewed the private ownership of firearms, such laws are, of course, ripe for potential abuse.

Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer said, “In addition to other resources leveraged across the Justice Department, this Center will provide communities with new tools and technical assistance to help them implement effective crisis intervention strategies and reduce gun violence.” Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have so far enacted red flag laws.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was quick to blast the creation of the new office, writing on the X social media platform, “What the hell is this evil? A Federal Red Flag center; We did not authorize this. Announced, of course, just hours after the omnibus passes.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) also weighed in, writing, “Merrick Garland just announced a massive Red Flag Operation that the DOJ will be running by using EVERY spy tool the US government has in order to violate American’s Second Amendment!! This comes right after Johnson fully funded Biden’s weaponized DOJ!”

Greene has launched an effort to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) after he shepherded a $1.2 trillion omnibus spending package through the lower chamber.

Uncertain Effects of Red Flag Laws

The anti-gun lobby was likely hopeful that red flag laws would facilitate a sort of slow-moving gun-confiscation program, but media investigations have shown that such laws are, in fact, rarely used – hence the creation of this new resource center, one can assume. According to the Associated Press, only four ERPOs were enforced in Chicago between 2020 and 2022, while there were 8,500 shootings resulting in 1,800 deaths during the same period. Red flag laws were used eight times in New Mexico over the same two years – the state had 600 gun homicides. Massachusetts used red flag laws 12 times and had about 300 fatal shootings.

A total of 15,049 people across all the red flag law states had their firearms taken away during this time, the AP analysis showed – but how can anyone know whether any lives were saved as a result?

It remains to be seen whether the DOJ’s new resource center will spark a notable uptick in the enforcement of red flag laws across the country. Still, the Biden administration has had a contentious relationship with constitutional rights in general- as evidenced by a number of Supreme Court losses – and with Second Amendment rights in particular. One might assume, then, that the very purpose of this new entity is to push states into disarming a great many more Americans, using red flag laws as cover.

Read More From Graham J Noble

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