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State AGs Target Biden’s Red-Flag Law Push

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West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

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The Biden Administration’s attempted exportation of so-called “red-flag” laws to the states through the recently created National Extreme Risk Protection Order Resource Center is drawing fire from the top law enforcement officers of nearly half the states.

 

Led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, 19 AGs have sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland lambasting him for the Biden Administration scheme to help state’s put such unconstitutional laws into effect.  

 

“The idea that federal officials would purport to instruct state and local officials on how to

implement state and local laws is strange enough, especially when the aim is to undermine a federal constitutional right,” Morrisey wrote in the letter. “But this Center is a misguided venture for many reasons. The Department must rethink its approach.”

 

As the AGs pointed out in the letter, little if any evidence suggests that such laws actually work.

 

“A comprehensive study by the RAND Corporation found ‘no qualifying studies’ that show a conclusive decrease in incidents like violent crimes, suicide and other related events,” the letter states. “A similar survey from the Duke Center for Firearms law found ‘no impact on total homicide or total suicide. Likewise, another study examining the use of these laws in two states concluded that they ‘had no significant effect on deaths or injuries from mass public shootings.’ And still another study—focusing on a red-flag law in one California county—’did not find evidence for a county-level reduction in firearm assault or firearm self-harm following implementation of the law.”

 

As the letter further explained, even many gun-control advocates admit that red-flag laws don’t work to curb suicides or homicides. The available data nearly all suggests that such laws will not save lives.

 

“On the other hand, these laws do create serious and undeniable harms,” the letter continued. “Most obviously, they empower governmental authorities to suspend fundamental rights under the Second Amendment with no genuine due process—while also stigmatizing persons with mental health issues along the way. Although the specifics vary, ‘no red flag law enacted thus far has fully protected due process rights of the respondent, and some laws foster atrocious violations.’ Observers have noted how these orders can be issued against persons who show no genuine threat, can be imposed for extended periods of time, and can be sought for reasons as minimal as ‘overblown political rhetoric on social media.’”

 

In the end, the AGs encouraged Garland to leave the states alone concerning red-flag laws and the implementation of such laws.

 

“In short, your new Resource Center is flawed in multiple, basic ways,” the letter concluded. “We urge you to put an immediate stop to this program. States don’t need ‘help’ of this sort from the federal government. We know exactly how to protect our citizens while appropriately respecting Second Amendment rights.”

 

States whose AGs signed the letter include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

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