Red Flag Laws
By Will Andrews, Training Director at Wilshire Gun
I try to be apolitical. Obviously, I have political preferences and opinions but I just try to keep them to myself. But sometimes something comes along that forces me to show my hand.
Vermont has passed a “red flag law,” that allows the state to “temporarily” confiscate firearms from those deemed as a threat to public safety. At face value, this might seem to be a good thing to keep us all safe. However, this type of law allowing for the confiscation of personal property from a citizen without due process of law is not a good thing at all. It becomes simply a violation of a citizen’s rights.
This month, in Middlebury, Vermont, 2 middle school students discussed shooting another student, and possibly many more. One of the two planned to do the shooting, the other planned to provide the firearms for the event. A third middle school student became aware of the plot and did the right thing by making notifications to officials. The first 2 were immediately removed from school, and charges have been filed accordingly. The identities of the three, as well as those of the intended targets, are being withheld because they are juveniles.
The student who offered to provide the firearms claimed he had access to a relative’s firearms. So, as this Red Flag law allows, the local police went to the relative who actually owns the guns mentioned in the plot and executed an “extreme risk order” and confiscated all the firearms in the house. There is no reason to believe that the legal owner of the firearms was even aware of the plot, and police report that all the firearms in the house were locked up in a secure manner. But, as the law states, the weapons had to be removed from the persons ”involved” in the plot.
Now we have a Vermont resident, a citizen of the United States, who has been denied his legally owned personal property, all because his guns were mentioned in a conversation about a shooting that never happened. Where is this citizen’s protection under the fourth amendment? He has not been charged with any crime. He was never mentioned as a part of the planned shooting. He was, at most, the intended target of a burglary. I am hopeful this citizen finds the funding to fight this in court, and fix this unjust law for the good of the country and have his lawfully owned property returned to him in a timely manner.