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Old September 27, 2021, 09:44 PM   #17
Doc Intrepid
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 22, 2009
Location: Washington State
Posts: 967
The lack of due process following an allegation against any US citizen has been described - the Red Flag Law process requiring firearms to be surrendered first assumes guilt until proven innocent.

In addition, two of the more egregious problems in the matter of Red Flag Laws are (depending on state) the broad range of individuals who can allege "dangerousness"; and the fact that whether the danger alleged is "clear and present" can depend significantly on the subjective paradigm of the accuser.

In the state of Washington "Who Can Request the Order?" has been defined as a:
  • person related by blood, marriage, or adoption to the respondent;
  • dating partner of the respondent;
  • person who has a child in common with the respondent, regardless of whether such person has been married to the respondent or has lived together with the respondent at any time;
  • person who resides or has resided with the respondent within the past year;
  • person who has a biological or legal parent-child relationship with the respondent, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren, or;
  • person who is acting or has acted as the respondent's legal guardian.

https://www.seattle.gov/police/need-help/erpo

That is an extraordinarily broad array of individuals who could disagree with someone, or who could decide their behavior represents a concern, and who could register their concern with the State. A 'legal parent-child relationship' would include your spouse's parents. Mother-In-Law humor aside, how many reading this have ever politically disagreed with their In-Laws?

It isn't difficult to conceive of ways Red Flag laws could be misused by someone who carries a grudge or otherwise wishes to register disapproval or other malevolent intent.

The second bullet includes "all dating partners". How many reading this have ever broken up with a dating partner who may well have borne a grudge?

There is no exemption or material defense against some malevolent person making a specious claim. (There are laws against lying to police, however, once the claim is made it remains within the system as de facto legitimate – requiring extraordinary efforts to remove it.)

Moreover, laws against 'malevolent accusations' only apply to deliberate lies. What if the person making the claim is not “lying” per se, but expressing a genuine if misguided concern based on their opposing political opinions and beliefs?

There are many opponents of gun rights who publicly express horror at the notion of American citizens owning “weapons of war”, and their concern regarding the ‘frightening desire’ of their fellow citizens to own such firearms. Consider Michael Moore or Shannon Watts. These gun control advocates use language describing “feeling terrorized” by American citizens owning such firearms.

Anyone sharing these opinions who expresses concerns about a relative who may own such firearms representing 'a clear and present danger' may in fact not be lying from their perspective. From the point of view of someone who views anyone who owns such firearms as psychologically troubled and prima facie “dangerous to the public”, their politically-based opinions are genuine.

There is no doubt that Red Flag Laws may allow legitimate concerns to be raised about risks to public safety. There is also no doubt IMHO that they potentially allow baseless allegations to be made that are intended to harass and disarm someone against whom they hold a grudge OR with whom they vehemently disagree politically.

The Respondent must surrender their firearms and must then prove that they are NOT dangerous to the community.
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