Op-Ed: Conservatives Should Be Very Skeptical Of ‘Red Flag’ Laws

For the first time in recent memory following a horrific mass shooting, there appears to be an emerging consensus of many elected Republicans and outside conservative voices that "something" must finally be done on the issue of guns. In particular, many Republicans seem eager to consider the state-level adoption and implementation of so-called "red flag" laws — otherwise known as "gun violence restraining orders" (GVROs).


Conservatives of different stripes can, and will, disagree on the prudential trade-offs and judgment calls involved with assessing a specific proposed GVRO's policy meritoriousness.

But at minimum, conservatives should be very, very skeptical of "red flag" laws.


[E]ven accepting the premise of a "properly drafted" GVRO law, there is simply no escaping the reality that the entire GVRO procedure flips due process on its head where a core constitutional right is at stake. As Dana Loesch aptly put it at The Federalist, "it is an abrogation of due process to invert the order of 'innocent until proven guilty' to 'somewhat guilty until proven innocent.'" GVRO advocates argue that the burden of proof must still fall on the party petitioning to confiscate the respondent's firearms — but the procedural reality is that the petitioner is still the first mover and, after that initial move, the onus shifts to the respondent to demonstrate his innocence. That is hardly an exemplary means by which to dispense with a cherished constitutional liberty, and it is made even more egregious in the context of "emergency" ex parte (i.e., one-party) proceedings — which GVRO advocates concede will be a reality.


Is this really the world that conservatives — especially those of a smaller government hue — wish to live in?

Click here to read the entire op-ed at DailyWire.com.

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