Imagine you are playing someone in an online video game. You beat him, turn the game off, and forget it. Your opponent gets mad. He calls the police and claims there’s a hostage-taking at your house. The SWAT team arrives. You hear a noise. You answer the door. The police kill you.
This actually happened in Wichita, Kansas, when police shot 28-year-old Andrew Finch. He was a victim of “swatting,” drawing the police to someone’s house with a phony emergency call. Police thought Finch was armed. He wasn’t. The caller, Tyler Barriss, who had just lost a $1.50 bet, got 20 years.
“Red Flag” laws could result in similar situations, and President Trump recently said he wants them:
[W]e must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and that, if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process. That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.
Under Red Flag laws, family, neighbors, or mental health professionals can ask police to confiscate someone’s weapons because he is a danger to himself or others. These laws will probably have victims like the late Mr. Finch, but the conflicts will be over politics, not a $1.50 bet.
There are already “red flag” laws in Connecticut, Indiana, California, Colorado, Nevada, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Florida, Vermont, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington D.C. New York recently passed a law that lets teachers and school administrators to file court petitions to confiscate firearms.
How are these laws working? In November 2018, two Maryland police officers acting on a Red Flag order tried to take a weapon from 61-year-old Gary Willis. Willis answered the door with a gun in his hand, then put it down when he saw the visitors were police officers.
Sgt. Jacklyn Davis said the man put the gun down. But then, according to a police press release, Willis “became irate” when officers attempted to serve the order. Willis picked the weapon up again, “a fight ensued over the gun,” and a shot was fired. The first shot didn’t strike anyone, but the officers then fatally shot the man, Sgt. Davis said.
The Maryland courts denied the Baltimore Sun’s request for details about the confiscation order, “citing the law which states the orders are confidential unless a court rules otherwise.” One of Willis’s sisters had filed for the order, but no family member ever explained why to the press.
We live in a time when Colin Kaepernick can convince Nike to drop a Betsy Ross shoe because he thinks it’s racist. Actor Chris Pratt was was called a white supremacist because he wore a Gadsden (Don’t Tread on Me) Flag. Earlier this year, a black couple in Georgia rejected a repairman because he had a Confederate Flag on his truck. If you flew one of these flags outside your home, how long would it be before some leftist calls the police, claiming you are a menace?
Many people, including celebrities such as Alyssa Milano, claim President Trump’s MAGA red hats are equivalent to KKK hoods. Why not just call the police on anyone wearing a MAGA hat? Prominent Democrats routinely call Donald Trump a “racist” or a “white nationalist.” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said Donald Trump donors are supporting and underwriting a racist campaign.
Democrat presidential hopeful Julian Castro just doxxed President Trump’s donors in San Antonio, publicizing their names and employers. If they thought they were fighting dangerous “racists,” why wouldn’t leftists try to disarm anyone who donates to the President or who has a Trump sign in the yard? It’s not uncommon for family members to feud over politics in today’s America.
National Review recently endorsed Red Flag laws to “crush” white supremacist terrorists. Yet the mainstream media regularly labels even establishment conservatives “white nationalists” and “white supremacists.”
In the increasingly combative world of politics, conservatives will stay silent for fear that liberal neighbors, family members, or psychologists label them “unstable.” This is a disadvantage the Left is unlikely to suffer. Volatile situations, like Mr. Willis’s fatal encounter with police, will be more common. Even if white advocates are not killed in confiscation raids, they will be left without defense. “Red flag” laws could become an end run around the First Amendment: legal punishment for expressing a point of view.
The threat to life and liberty in America has never been greater, especially for white advocates. What’s worse, Republicans are joining the effort to disarm us.