Democrats in the Alaska House of Representatives plan to put counselors, social workers, and even someone with a master’s degree in psychology into the center of laws involving gun confiscation for people that are thought to be dangerous.
Under HB 62, professionals in the helping fields would be required to report to a central state registry all credible gun threats made by Alaskans, even if that information is not corroborated.
It’s called a “red flag” law and it gives select professions remarkable power over citizens’ right to own firearms because, although the registry is supposed to be confidential, these professionals will be developing lists of people they think pose a danger and who own guns.
Social workers in charge of reporting on gun possession?
According to the proposed statute, yes. That is one of the more disturbing aspects of this proposed legislation, critics say, since social workers are, by their own definition, political actors and they oppose guns, generally.
“Social work is intrinsically political by virtue of the fact that it is concerned with social change and a quest for social justice,” according to a paper published in the SocialWorkHelper, a publication of the International Journal of Social Welfare.
A review of the field’s academic literature reveals that the social work profession is largely anti-Second Amendment and that social workers are continuously instructed by their peers to advocate for gun control.
The proponents of the red flag law also want law enforcement officers to be able to petition a court for a “gun violence protective order,” which would allow them to take guns away from people if they deem them to be “in crisis.”
Critics say there is no due process in red flag laws, and that makes them unconstitutional. Studies show that across the country, when a judge is approached by law enforcement to get an order that allows them to go into a person’s home and seize their guns, they often succeed in getting that order. But when the citizen shows up for the court hearing, those attempts to take their guns are more likely to fail.
What seems sensible in the laboratory of law doesn’t always work out in the real world, where the rationale used for gun confiscation may be a slippery slope, Second Amendment defenders say.
“The Democratic Party’s hard lurch to the left in recent years raises troubling questions about its approach to such questions. On campuses today, it is common to assert that ‘hate speech’ is akin to violence and, on the left, that the mere expression of conservative political ideas constitutes such ‘hate speech,'” wrote Jim DeMint, former senator of South Carolina. If hate speech is now considered violence, then what is the speed at which mere gun ownership will be considered a violent tendency?
The red flag laws are rushing toward passage across the country. If passed, Alaska would be one of 12 states to enact a red-flag law since the shooting at the school in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, 2018 — one state every two months has enacted a red-flag law since that incident.. There are 17 states plus the District of Columbia that have an “extreme risk” law, such as is being proposed for Alaska.
Connecticut was the first state to pass a red flag law, after a mass shooting at the Connecticut State Lottery in 1999. Thirteen years later, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened in Connecticut, with 26 people killed, in spite of the law.
Connecticut’s law allows only law enforcement to petition for a gun’s removal, and the law has been used more than 1,500 times since its passage — more than once a week.
Not all law enforcement officers are on board with the red flag movement. Colorado’s legislature passed a red flag law that took effect Jan. 1, but several Colorado sheriffs are on the record to say they will not enforce the law in their counties. In December, opponents of the law held a “We Will Not Comply” rally at the state Capitol in Denver.
In Oregon, the red flag law is also applied with variability. In conservative parts of the state where ranchers and farmers dwell, peace officers have ignored the law, while in the more Democrat-controlled and urban parts of the state, petitions to take guns away from Oregonians have been used 166 times in two years since the law was enacted.
House Bill 62 is sponsored by Democrats Rep. Geran Tarr, Harriet Drummond, and Andy Josephson. The NRA rates them 64 percent, 21 percent and 36 percent respectively on Second Amendment issues.
The bill is in House Judiciary, which is chaired by Rep. Matt Claman, rated 43 percent by the NRA.