Unfortunately, a nagging case of pneumonia caused me to miss the opportunity to come to Concord to testify against the proposed Red Flag Law. But here’s what I would have said.
I’m not really afraid of the random crazy person with a gun. I carry a gun, and so do my friends and family. We’re prepared for that kind of thing.
Here’s what I’m not prepared for, what I can’t possibly be prepared for: A SWAT team showing up in the middle of the night, without a warrant, ready to ignore my rights to property, to due process, and to keep and bear arms, and willing to kill me (and my dogs) if I resist in any way, even inadvertently — based on nothing more than an accusation.
I can fight back against a crazy person. I can’t fight back against the police, because even if I win the first battle, they’re members of a gang that is so large, and so well-armed, that I can’t prevail in the end.
The Declaration of Independence very eloquently points out that people form governments, not to protect their lives, but to protect their rights. I don’t need you to protect my life. I need you to protect my rights — my right to property, my right to due process, my right to keep and bear arms, and so on.
But the proposed Red Flag law turns all this on its head. It requires the very people who are supposed to be protecting my rights to suppress them instead — all in the name of doing a job they’re not supposed to be doing in the first place.
No one is denying that there may be, from time to time, people who pose a danger to themselves or others, and who may require some special attention. But we need to find a way to deal with them that doesn’t subvert the very purpose of government, as this measure does.
There are really only two reasons to support a measure like this. The first, of course, is a desire to use any opportunity, any excuse to pare back the right to keep and bear arms. I expect that a lot of you fall into this camp.
The second is a lack of imagination — if you can’t think of a dozen ways to deal with the problem that don’t involve ignoring multiple fundamental, constitutionally-protected rights, then you haven’t spent sufficient time thinking about it. So please, go back and think about it, keeping in mind that your job as a legislator isn’t to come up with whatever solutions seem the easiest, and most expedient; but to come up with solutions that stay within the limits placed on you by our state and federal constitutions.
That’s hard work, but it’s the work you were elected to do. So either do it, or get out of the way so someone else can.