I am an unabashed believer in our Constitutional rights. When the Founding Fathers enshrined gun ownership as a right of American citizens in the Constitution, they knew what they were doing. They were so adamant on the right to bear arms that they declared that this right “shall not be infringed.” Let me be clear: firearm ownership is a right afforded to every American, and that right should not be obstructed without due process. I believe it is important to recognize that a law-abiding individual has a right to own a gun free from government surveillance and interference.
Some folks may want to make sure firearms do not fall into the hands of dangerous individuals; we all want to protect our communities and families, but we cannot do it at the cost of our freedom. Gun ownership is as important a right as the right to a fair trial, freedom of speech, and freedom of faith. Gun rights cannot and should not be forfeited without a clear, strict, and narrow set of rules that respect due process and are enforced clearly and consistently. At present, there is talk floating around the Missouri Capitol to implement Red Flag laws right here in Missouri. Red Flag laws do not meet the definition of due process that deprives someone of a firearm; rather, it’s government run amok.
Currently, a lot of coastal states have Red Flag laws. These laws allow the state government to forcibly seize a person’s firearm if they receive a complaint from someone stating that person poses behavior that implies they could be dangerous. It is a law designed for friends and family members to signal to the government that someone they know should not own a firearm because they could pose a threat, then in comes the sheriff or the police to suspend that person’s constitutional right to own a firearm, taking away their gun, and holding it until the person is no longer viewed as a threat by the government.
And that’s it. No due process, no trial, no conviction. Just a tip-off to the government that so-and-so should not have a gun, and then it is taken. That is not how rights work, that is not how liberty works. Our rights can only be forfeited if we committed a crime and are found guilty by a jury of our peers, not because Neighbor A does not want Neighbor B to own a gun. Red Flag laws should be a giant red flag to everyone in our state that radical liberals are trying to make it easier for the government to take away our firearms. It gives government too much power, it curtails our rights, and ignores the Constitution. It creates a subjective measure of who should and should not own a gun and then strips away a person’s rights for a “future crime” they might commit.
Any Missourian with even cursory knowledge of the Constitution can tell you that an American cannot be punished, imprisoned, or forfeit their freedom until they commit a crime. We cannot allow these radicals to dictate who can and cannot own a firearm. I for one will join with responsible firearm owners and freedom-loving Missourians to stand our ground against Red Flag laws or any such law that would deprive Missourians of their liberty without due process.
Eddy Justice is a state senate candidate for Senate District 25 comprised of Butler, Carter, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Shannon, and Stoddard Counties.