Red Flag Laws are all the rage these days, almost trendy. It seems that’s what the anti-gun community cares about when creating laws – being trendy – even though many of these trendy laws make people less safe. And that’s exactly what Red Flag Laws do.
As a woman who chose to leave an unhealthy marriage only to be harassed and stalked by my ex-husband, and then when he remarried, spent nearly two years in a bitter custody battle as him and his new wife tried to move my daughter across the country, I have unfortunately witnessed how easy it is to manipulate this system.
I have faced temporary restraining orders based on fabricated accusations, police at my door for false reports, and CPS visits multiple times. Through each encounter, I held my head high, defended myself with poise, and had faith the truth would be on my side. In my case it was; each time I was victorious. But it did not come without anxiety and fear. Since that time, my ex-husband and his new wife have moved away, and I sleep much more soundly at night – with my daughter in the room across the hall.
I no longer have to take a different route home each time I’d meet him to drop off or pick up my daughter because I knew he was following me. Or be informed by a watchful neighbor that he has been sitting at the end of my street for two hours in sub-zero weather. I no longer have to wonder if the knock on my door on Saturday morning is the sheriff’s office following up on more false accusations, or the neighbor kid wanting to play with my child. I no longer have to fear what may be next. I was fortunate that I was still there to worry about those things. Others were not.
Due to my experiences, when I saw what was hidden inside this year’s Red Flag Bill, I was shocked. Certainly these politicians know how easy this is to manipulate – and of course, their “job” is to protect people like me. But when I researched it further, my shock turned to anger. Not only was this proposed law as easy to get as the temporary protection order my ex-husband had gotten against me at one time, it was easier. It allows reports by phone, and hearings by phone. No one even has to show their face.
Red Flag Bills put the most vulnerable in our society at risk. The same citizens these politicians claim to care about, they are putting at risk. Domestic violence affects women and men of all demographics, and although 40% of the victims are men (if not more), when it comes to fatalities in domestic and familial incidents, a shocking 97% of the victims are women.
Now the anti-gun, pro-women, newly elected government has made promises to come to our rescue – yet all they are doing is putting us in harms way by opening a door to have OUR means of self protection removed – legally.
Although I use my own experience as a woman as an example, this applies to anyone, regardless of gender or other demographics. If your life is in harms way, Red Flag Laws can be used to disarm you. And if you manage to beat a system that is stacked against you and get your firearms back, there are no repercussions to the person who falsely reported you. They walk away unscathed, having wasted time and resources that could have been used to follow up on legitimate threats and crime.
If you’re not familiar with Red Flag Laws, you’re not paying enough attention (seriously, connect with us on social media so you always know what’s up). Red Flag Laws are already in place in some states, and are undoubtedly coming to yours. Here’s how a HB19-1177, Colorado’s proposed Red Flag Law would work:
• Almost anyone can request an ERPO without even showing their face or providing their address. The definition of “family or household member” is so broad it includes ex-lovers who you have never even lived with! Or someone *claiming* you once had an affair. And even old roommates.
• The initial report and hearing can be done over the phone, all while the accused is completely oblivious proceedings are taking place to have his or her firearms confiscated. There is no due process at this first hearing – which is the hearing where permission is given to confiscate gun! Even Colorado Attorney General Weiser admits to the lack of due process. Watch his testimony here.
• The first time the accused learns someone has reported them will be when local law enforcement shows up at their door with an order AND a search warrant prepared to raid your home – while the accused never even committed a crime. This search warrant is a BRAND NEW type of warrant that is created in the bill – a gun owner specific civil search warrant. Read all about that here.
• 14 days later is the first time the accused will have a chance to defend themselves against this non-crime. The burden of proof will fall on the accused, not on the petitioner who can actually provide affidavits rather than attend court!
• The guns will be confiscated for 364 days, during which time the accused only has one opportunity to ask the courts to lift the order.
• There is zero accountability for false accusers. In fact, the filing fee is $0! For comparison, requesting a Temporary Restraining Order in Colorado is $97. Attorney General Weiser also admitted false claims will be par for the course. Listen to his statements here.
• This bill is being touted as a “suicide prevention” bill, when in fact, the fear of having your firearms confiscated will make people terrified to ask for help when they need it, and will undoubtedly escalate situations rather than deescalate them..
• It is so rife for abuse, it can easily be used by someone’s stalker or abuser to have their victim disarmed – legally.
• The ERPO will go on a person’s permanent record EVEN if it is dismissed, meaning it will show up on background checks, etc.
Read a complete write up of the bill here: www.rallyforourrights.
READY TO HELP STOP THIS BILL?? Click here for more detailed info about which legislators to contact.