Gun control laws fail to stop cop killer; Extremists claim yet another law will make the difference

Always quick to attempt to exploit a tragedy, gun control extremists ran to the microphones last week after a standoff between a mentally-disturbed man and deputies in Clermont County ended with the loss of a detective's life.

From Fox 19 (WXIX Cincinnati):

After learning that a Clermont County sheriff’s detective was shot and killed, some Ohio legislators are now planning to push for a “red flag law” to be passed.

State Sen. Cecil Thomas said that he and other legislators worked on a “red flag law” before, but it did not pass. He said that if it were in place, people could ask a court to take someone’s weapons away, if that person appears to be a threat.

“It would allow the family to petition the court, for the safety of the individual in particular, to remove that firearm from the premises," said Senator Thomas.

...

Thomas said he even wonders if it could have potentially prevented what happened to Clermont County Sheriff’s Detective Bill Brewer this past weekend. Brewer was shot and killed during a standoff. The attorney for the suspect in that shooting, Wade Winn, has said said that Winn has mental issues.

What Sen. Thomas (D) isn't saying is that there are already gun control laws on the books that could have been used to make it illegal for this killer to possess a firearm. But Thomas isn't saying that because, when it comes to gun control extremists, we're never supposed to examine how the current laws failed, only take it on faith that the next one will supposedly work.

Here is what we know:

  • In August 2018, the killer, Wade Winn was convicted of misdemeanor improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle. He was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon (a felony tat would have prevented him from legally possessing a firearm), but the charge was dismissed.
  • Winn has a list of arrests over the last couple of years for possession of marijuana.
  • After Winn's arraignment, his attorney, Jay Clark, said Winn has mental health issues. "He's been hospitalized," Clark said. "He's been seen by psychiatrists on an outpatient basis, and he's been medicated." Clark elaborated further to WKRC (ABC Cincinnati), saying "He gave me three diagnoses that -- for now -- I won't tell you what they are, but he's been medicated for them in the past, and they're significant. It's not like he had a little anxiety because he had to take a test. They're serious psychiatric disorders."

As Buckeye Firearms Association's Joe Eaton explained to WLWT (NBC Cincinnati), “There are already laws in place where somebody can be involuntarily committed for psychological evaluation and have a court determine if they are competent or not competent." In other words, the law currently provides for the immediacy law enforcement officials say they need when someone presents a danger to themselves or others.

Furthermore, Ohio law prohibits persons under adjudication for mental incompetence, adjudicated as a mental defective, committed to a mental institution, found to be mentally ill subject to hospitalization by court order, or involuntary mentally ill patients from purchasing or possessing firearms, unless they have obtained a “relief from disability.” The law also prohibits persons who are “drug dependent, in danger of drug dependence.” The legal processes for this protection can be found here.

So to repeat, and as Eaton pointed out, "This young man had troubles, and there are already laws out there that people can be either voluntarily or involuntarily committed for diagnosis of this type of treatment."

What is not now and should never become law in Ohio is any bill which would allow the government to strip people of their rights and their property ahead of time. And that is exactly what the "red flags" laws that have been proposed would do.

The Fifth Amendment states, in part, "No person shall be...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. The "red flags" laws being proposed would allow a person's property to be taken away without the right to due process being observed.

As Eaton told Fox 19, "Everyone in Ohio should be innocent until they’ve been proven guilty of committing a crime.”

Despite the many problems with the proposals contained in "red flags" legislation, the state senator from Cincinnati said his Democratic caucus will likely propose another "red flag" bill at the state house next week.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

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