On Friday, President Trump reiterated his support for “meaningful background checks” when it comes to potentially dangerous people obtaining firearms. He also invited staunch Second Amendment supporters to join him in crafting the necessary legislation.
“Serious discussions are taking place between House and Senate leadership on meaningful Background Checks,” Trump tweeted. “I have also been speaking to the NRA, and others, so that their very strong views can be fully represented and respected. Guns should not be placed in the hands of mentally ill or deranged people. I am the biggest Second Amendment person there is, but we all must work together for the good and safety of our Country. Common sense things can be done that are good for everyone!”
The concept of “red flag” laws, which President Trump proposed in the wake of the horrific shootings this past weekend, has proven to be a divisive issue among conservatives. Proponents of the laws say it will put a necessary system in place to prevent people who exhibit clear signs of potentially violent behavior from obtaining a firearm; opponents say that it can potentially be used as a political tool to deprive law-abiding individuals of owning guns. David French of National Review likened such laws to restraining orders:
There is broad conceptual agreement that regardless of whether you view gun ownership as a right or a privilege, a person can demonstrate through their conduct that they have no business possessing a weapon.
Felons, the dangerously mentally ill, perpetrators of domestic violence — these people have not only demonstrated their unfitness to own a weapon, they’ve been granted due process to contest the charges or claims against them. There is no arbitrary state action. There is no collective punishment. There is, rather, an individual, constitutional state process, and the result of that process is a set of defined consequences that includes revoking the right to gun ownership.
Josh Hammer argued here at The Daily Wire, however, that the red flag laws, also called “Gun Violence Restraining Orders” (GVROs), could easily be subject to abuse, where people are forced to defend themselves against false accusations:
The Framers would have been positively aghast at the notion that a next-door neighbor or workplace supervisor could successfully petition a court to deprive an individual of his Second Amendment rights — let alone in ex parte, secretive fashion — for up to two weeks before a gun owner may attempt to defend himself. To many, that may seem awfully reminiscent of the old English Star Chamber. And even more horrifyingly Orwellian is the on-the-ground reality that people have already died at the hands of law enforcement after they have been unwilling to turn in their GVRO-stripped firearms.
According to Fox News, legislation on background checks and “red flag” laws may be on the Senate floor this coming fall. “After several calls to bring the Senate back from recess to consider gun violence legislation following last weekend’s mass shootings,” reports the outlet. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he and President Trump are considering several options, including background checks, and are ‘anxious for an outcome’ when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill in the fall.”