Mulhall column: Pasturing the philistines
The April 23 GSPI editorial on Colorado’s new “red flag” law provided an “active liberty” perspective I haven’t read anywhere else.
The editorial said, among other things, opponents of the “red flag” law have let “shall not be infringed upon [sic]” rhetoric raise “emotions surrounding the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
It’s a fair point that warrants exploration.
To this end, perhaps a civil discussion on Colorado’s new “red flag” law willing to dispel Second Amendment emotion would dispense with unhelpful concepts altogether.
First off, you’d want to abrogate the Second Amendment in whole because keeping and bearing arms is a “Constitutional” right, not a “woke” one, like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’ right to housing. Worse, a bunch of dead white guys thought it so important that they invoked that “shall not be infringed” phrase — a gun-control quagmire for as long as anyone can remember.
While dispatching that cobweb, you should also eschew the notion of “due process.” Like the Second Amendment, ratified in 1791, due process is old. Comparatively, the feckless notion that no one should be deprived of rights except “by the judgment of his peers and by the law of the land” is worse because it stems from the Magna Carta, c. 1215. Both are so old they belong in the dustbin of history.
After setting that decay aside, you’d also want to toss “presumption of innocence,” an idea with a pedigree as confusing as the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, because when you speak of guns, presumption of innocence is just silly.
Having rid the discussion of such detritus, you’re truly free to focus on the rejuvenated thought the “red flag” law represents.
To do this, you need look no further than the grounds on which a citizen can, through courts, initiate “Extreme Risk Protection,” or ERP.
The law’s grounds for ERP cover almost everything you can do with a gun — everything, that is, but shoot, for by the time a gun fires, it’s simply too late.
To get ERP, you can have a gun, want one, know where to find one, or simply intend to get ahold of one. Absent these, you can still get ERP if you recently purchased ammo, for like a concealed carry permit. Ammo acquisition puts the lie to any gun-free claim.
This casts a net so wide that maybe the only people against whom an ERP order might not hold are retired peanut farmer and former one-term President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, if only because they aren’t Colorado residents. And, when it comes to gun law, a wide net’s exactly what you want.
It’s not hard to imagine how this might go:
Clive: Uh oh, looks like crazy Martha’s going in the sporting goods store. Better get some Extreme Risk Protection.
Merle: That’s OK. It’s Dick’s.
Clive: Wait just a doggone second, Merle. Dick’s will still sell you a shotgun, and Lord knows a shotgun’ll give you holes you weren’t born with.
Merle: Guess yer right. Better git’er some ERP.
Perhaps one day crazy Martha will snap, but thanks to Clive and Merle, at least Martha’s guns won’t fire.
Seen in this light, citizens peaceably disarming citizens not only gets the gun control monkey off government’s back, its Satyagraha done safely: You can turn the other cheek without getting it shot.
Of course, it might get stabbed, gassed or immolated instead, but those are problems for future legislators in heftier governments.
Yes, Second Amendment “shall not be infringed” rhetoric really does stand in the way of realizing just how refreshingly free-thinking the “red flag” law is, and the progressive meta narrative the law now embodies may finally put to pasture every nay-sayer who ever gave a lick of credence to presumption of innocence, due process, or that pesky Second Amendment.
After all, who’d want to be one of those depraved philistines?
Mitch Mulhall is a husband, father and longtime Roaring Fork Valley resident. His column appears monthly in the Post Independent and at postindependent.com.
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This will be my 500th column — my final column in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.