By: José Niño
Following an Independence Day parade mass shooting that took place in Highland Park, Illinois on July 4, 2022, the state of Illinois has witnessed an increased use of red flag gun confiscation orders to allegedly stop mass shooting incidents.
This mass shooting saw a gunman kill seven people while wounding dozens of others. As a result, policymakers in the state scrambled to find ways to address the mass shooting problem. One way state decisionmakers have tried fighting gun violence is by turning to red flag laws even more.
Red flag laws allow law enforcement to confiscate the legally owned firearms of lawful Americans in violation of due process, simply by turning to flimsy accusations from family members, neighbors, co-workers, or any close associates with a grudge against them.
According to The Chicago Tribune, there has been a marked increase in the invocation of red flag laws and formal warnings issued to Illinois State Police about individuals who allegedly pose a threat to themselves or others, thereby justifying the confiscation of said individuals’ firearms.
During a timeframe from July 4, 2022 up until May 31, 2023 state law enforcement received over 11,800 “clear and present danger reports” informing them of individuals that might be too dangerous to grant gun licenses to.
This figure is more than double the number of clear and present danger reports received in the same timeframe in the previous year, per state data.
The issuance of firearms restraining orders, the designated forms for the state’s red flag law, has also experienced a significant uptick since the Highland Park mass shooting. The orders were issued 228 times in the 3.5 years since the law’s enactment in January 2019 through the start of August 2022. From that point until May, there have been an additional 146 red flag orders issued.
Red flag laws are a clear affront to due process rights and allow for embittered individuals with an ax to grind to levy false accusations against otherwise law-abiding citizens.
Dudley Brown, the president of The National Association for Gun Rights, commented on the latest figures for red flag gun confiscation orders issued:
“The Dems passed a bill that empowers the government to dispatch their goon squads to confiscate firearms without due process, and the overzealous bureaucrats are pouncing at every opportunity to exploit this law to disarm the population. Unfortunately, this chain of events in Illinois was all too predictable.”
Illinois is a reliably anti-gun state as evidenced by its awful 39th place ranking according to Guns & Ammo magazine’s best states for gun owners.
Given the hegemonic status Democrats enjoy in Illinois politics, it’s going to take court action or nullification measures in red counties and municipalities to reverse Second Amendment infringements such as red flag gun confiscation orders.
Those are the harsh political realities that gun owners must come to grips with in blue states.