Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Red flag gun bill has merit

The Kansas Legislature should strongly consider a proposed law to allow confiscation of weapons.

March 5, 2018

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Kansas lawmakers should give serious consideration to a so-called red flag bill that would provide for the removal of guns from people suffering from serious mental or behavioral issues.

Sen. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, has both introduced a bill that would allow family members or law enforcement officials to petition a court to order guns confiscated from people if there is reason to believe they pose a danger to themselves or others.

Five states currently have such laws in place, and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, signed an executive order giving law enforcement the authority to take guns away from people who are deemed to be a danger to themselves and others.

Bollier introduced the bill earlier in the session, but that bill died after the “turnaround” deadline for bills to passed on Feb. 22. But it has since been reintroduced as Senate Bill 431, and Bollier said she has been assured by Republican leaders that it will at least get a committee hearing.

State Rep. Jim Ward, D-Topeka, has similar legislation pending in the House.

Gun safety issues have been at the forefront since the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., left 17 students and faculty members dead.

“It is a great start,” Bollier said of her bill, “not because of the Parkland shooting, but because of suicide and gun violence, especially domestic violence issues.”

When it comes to gun legislation, there is a broad array of steps being discussed at the state and federal level including enhancing background checks, raising the minimum age to purchase assault-style rifles to 21, banning bump stocks that turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic firearms and even reconsidering the assault weapons ban that was in place from 1995 to 2004.

Kansas has shown little to no interest in such legislation. If anything, Kansas lawmakers have moved more in the direction of protecting gun rights, having already passed House Bill 2042, a “reciprocity” bill that allows people with valid concealed carry permits from other states to carry concealed firearms in Kansas, including an amendment lowering the minimum age for carrying concealed firearms to 18 instead of 21.

There are those who argue Bollier’s bill could violate constitutional rights, but the court hearing provides the individual with due process before guns are confiscated. If the state can terminate parental rights in order to protect children, then surely the state can implement a process to terminate gun ownership rights, at least temporarily.

Bollier’s red flag bill could prevent future deaths in Kansas. Legislators should seriously consider approving it.

Comments

Bob Smith 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Would this bill help avoid another law-enforcement debacle as happened in the Feb. 14 massacre? if not, then it's just more dust in the wind.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Actually, yes. The perpetrator had been identified many many times and based on those concerns could have had his guns confiscated if I'm reading the intent of the law correctly, which I haven't read the details of. It is my understanding that the real targets of this law include suicide and domestic violence risks, which are way more prevalent than lone wolf mass shooters, and it is primarily for these reasons that our legislators should look at this legislative initiative. It has the potential to make a substantial impact on all three fronts, something that several other states are also considering.

P Allen Macfarlane 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Anything that leads to a reduction in violence by firearms would be an improvement.

John Middleton 2 months, 2 weeks ago

"Anything..." Yeah, we don't need no stinkin' constitution...

Conrad Griebel 2 months, 2 weeks ago

1/3 of firearm deaths are suicides. Expressing a desire to hurt oneself seems like it could be grounds for confiscation, which could save lives.

Bob Summers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

"Kansas lawmakers should give serious consideration to a so-called red flag bill that would provide for the removal of guns from people suffering from serious mental or behavioral issues".

What about sexual identity? Is that a "behavioral issues"?

What about demanding other people's money via taxation? Is that serious?

What about the "behavioral issues" like people incessantly demanding food and shelter from people with means? Is this mental behavior serious?

What about the "serious mental" condition of people that give sanctuary to foreign elements that interfere with the election process? Or that murder, rob and rape like MS-13 does? Should these people be armed?

Who decides what is serious and what is an issue?

Bruce Weber 2 months, 2 weeks ago

There was another shooting on Feb.14th that the right won't talk about. Amarillo Tx. Bad guy with gun walks into a church. Parishioners tackle bad guy, good guy grabs gun, Police enter, shoot guy with gun..He survived he said he didn't want to throw the gun for fear it would go off. Sorry no quick click to link but I read it on Fox News so you can google it

Bob Smith 2 months, 2 weeks ago

"...Democrats, in a feat of political exploitation unrivaled in the 21st century, are now using the kids from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to sign fundraising emails. Part of me had hoped the party of grave-dancing would find using children in this way would be a bridge too far, but the rest of me knew they didn’t have it in them to be tactful, decent people. After all, every left-wing activist group had, one day after the shooting, started sweeping into town to organize what they and their fellow travelers in the media all claimed was an “organic, grassroots” response to the tragedy. If they couldn’t wait 24 hours before attaching the marionette strings to those kids, the fact that they waited 2 weeks before attempting to use them to line their own pockets is as close to decency as they’re going to get.

With that in mind, and as liberals line up behind a shield made of children to march on the Second Amendment, it’s important to remember what happens when you attempt to compromise with people whose ultimate goal is your obliteration and why no amount of compromise will ever be enough...." https://townhall.com/columnists/derekhunter/2018/03/04/do-not-give-an-inch-on-the-second-amendment-n2457078

Bruce Weber 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Kansas legislature is advancing Bill 2042 giving 18-21 year Olds the right to conceal carry. Rep.Eric Smith(R) said:While he encourages training,he has a problem mandating training to exercise a Constitutional Right,,,,what's next a Bill by the nra puppets banning the use of any and all common sence in any gun laws. Do we teach our children to drive or just throw them the keys and say figure it out as you go.. Ok everybody we are about to hear the it's a privilege it's a right...It's to sad we can't mandate Common Sence..

Bob Summers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

"we can't mandate Common Sence"

Did you mean to type, "we can't mandate Common" Scents?

Bruce Weber 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Yes Common Sence:good sence and sound judgment in practical matters,,,,Not common scents:as in I smell a rat

Brock Masters 2 months, 2 weeks ago

The bill has merit and should be considered but it has flaws as currently written.

It allows the taking of firearms based solely on a petition from a person who may or not be related and who may have just dated in the past and an order by a judge without the defendant hafing an opportunity to be present. .

There is no reason the defendant cannot have a hearing before the order is issued. I realize time is of the essence so make time for the hearing.

Also, if the defendant cannot afford legal representation they are out of luck. A court appointed attorney must be available to anyone facing removal of their firearms - justice must not be dependent on economic status.

The burden of proving innonce is on the defendant which is contrary to our long standing principle of innocent until proving guilty.

The law should also make it a crime to knowingly make false statements in the petition with mandatory prison time and civil liability for damages.

Finally, remove the storage fees provision. Really, you take their firearms and then they have to pay storage fees? Gimme a break.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Research done on the Connecticut red flag law https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2828847 makes it appear that there seems to be some positive effect in reducing the number of suicides using firearms.

Reports from the 5 states who have these appear to be promising. I think you bring up a legitimate point about storage fees: it's a price that society ought to be willing to pay for the seized firearms.

Once again, this is the type of funded research that would be useful for the CDC to be able to track to see the efficacy of such measures. Unless we evaluate the effectiveness of what we do and where, we are just shooting from the hip, if you pardon my pun. This will also be an evolving issue, which is why we need to get some valid, reliable research in place will help us tease out the dynamics instead of just yelling back and forth from behind our ideological fortresses.

Brock Masters 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Ken stop it, just stop it. Why must you interject common sense into the discussion LOL

Seriously, great point about evaluating the efficacy of the measures. We should study the issue, develop a plan, implement it, evaluate it and then djuat if needed.

Carol Bowen 2 months, 2 weeks ago

The CDC is restricted from any research that might indicate a need for gun control, the Dickey ammendment, 1996.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 2 weeks ago

And it's high time that Congress changed that: even Mr. Dickey called for repeal of his own bill after he saw the way that it was being used to stifle research into the efficacy of various measures designed to reduce gun violence. It's kind of like saying that you can take a vaccine but we forbid there be any data collected as to whether that vaccine is effective or not. The usual unimaginative NRA response is to say that the CDC should study and do research on violence as a whole, not just gun violence, and the obvious answer is that they already do just that. This fact does not prevent them from directing more focused research on various kinds of violence such as elder abuse, child abuse, youth violence, and on and on. It is only gun violence that is singled out as being off limits. Let your Congressmen and/or women know that any gun legislation needs to include repeal of this head-in-the-sand law.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 2 months, 2 weeks ago

My concern about bills of this type, is that the person targeted not be deprived of due process and legal representation. I see a lot of instances that this law could be misused. I am wanting to protect our kids as much as anyone, but if a person is targeted by a law such as this I believe the state should pay for a psychiatric evaluation before any action is taken.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Do you love your guns so much that you couldn't live without them long enough to take a mental health evaluation. to get them back? And, yes, maybe the state should pay for the evaluation. I would be willing to pay more taxes to implement this, if it meant saving even just one life, including the live of the gun owner, if he/she was contemplating suicide.

Bob Summers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

You should never be allowed to purchase a firearm.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Charles,

If you look at the measures passed in other states, these measures are taken only when there appears to be a clear and present danger. In some states such as Connecticut, this determination is made only by law enforcement and has been credited for saving lives, particularly for suicide. While it may seem sensible to ask for a psychiatric evaluation before any action is taken, I can see that this could result in weeks of delays, which defeats the purpose of the "red flag." I think there are probably better ways to create safeguards that would not defeat the purpose of the need to act quickly to save lives. The Giffords Law Center has a page devoted to this, and while I haven't had a chance to look at it yet, here it is: http://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/who-can-have-a-gun/extreme-risk-protection-orders/

Bruce Weber 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Brock, I would guess you heard the nra told the Florida legislators No on a bump stock ban this weekend, so much for last week's attempted spin.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 2 weeks ago

In 2013 Jimmy Lee Dykes killed a school bus driver, Charles Pollard, who was trying to protect the kids on his bus. He then kidnapped the poor autistic boy who didn't get off the bus fast enough. The neighbors knew he was crazy. The police knew he was crazy. But he was allowed to have his guns. If this law was enacted before then, the police could have confiscated his guns before he murdered, and after his mental evaluation proved his mental illness, he wouldn't have been able to buy any more guns legally. Could he buy them illegally? Probably. Could someone had given him guns, because they "felt" sorry for him losing his 2nd amendment rights? Probably. But it would have taken a lot more work for him to do that. It would have saved a man's life, and a young boy's mental stability. How much is one life worth to those who oppose this law? How many who oppose this law call themselves "pro-life"?

Bob Smith 2 months, 2 weeks ago

As long as the leftists keep this sort of message going, there will be no compromise from those of us that value the Second Amendment.

Bob Smith 2 months, 2 weeks ago

This was supposed to be attached to the previous post, but I clicked the wrong thing.

Bob Summers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

The nice thing 'bout the human under the influence of DRD4 Liberal gene polymorphism is their predictability.

They are fun, entertaining folk, just don't put them in charge of anything that matters.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 2 weeks ago

And since you yourself have said that everyone has this trait and that there is no perfect "conservative standard," then nobody would be in charge of anything in your world, would they?

Bob Smith 2 months, 2 weeks ago

"...One day Sen. Jeff Flake is warning America about rising Stalinism and the next he’s supporting a bill that strips the rights of citizens who’ve been arbitrarily placed on secret government lists without any probable cause or due process. Make no mistake, that’s exactly what the legislation a group of senators plan to re-introduce this week does..." http://thefederalist.com/2018/03/05/jeff-flakes-no-fly-no-buy-is-a-stupid-anti-constitutional-idea/#.Wp2J9jghpuQ.twitter

Bob Summers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

You may as well be voiding into the wind and expect not to get wet.

Congenital Liberals can no more see differently what they see than a bat.

Bruce Weber 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Thats funny bob, you calling us predictable. you sound like a broken record with that congenital liberal line. Ground Hog day with bob

Richard Aronoff 2 months, 2 weeks ago

This does nothing to prevent someone being treated by a mental health professional from acquiring a gun. Those professionals should be required to report the names of patients that they believe might have violent tendencies to the federal background check database. Depending on the nature of the interaction, law enforcement should be required to do the same.

This might require that someone tell the ACLU to sit down and shut up.

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