The following is a video transcript.
Fortunately for Virginians, we do not currently have red flag laws. Red flag laws, also called extreme risk protective orders, allow the authorities to seize the weapons of someone deemed to be a threat. This often happens without any prior court hearing or opportunity for the gun owner to be heard. These laws have previously been proposed in Virginia, and are almost certain to be proposed again. They are something Virginia gun owners need to stay vigilant about.
Your Rights… Attacked
These laws are concerning for a number of constitutional reasons. Not only do they affect due process as provided for in the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments, but they also implicate when your home can be searched (which is the Fourth Amendment), when your weapons can be taken (protected under the Second Amendment), and when what you say can be enough of a perceived threat to allow seizure of your weapons, which impacts the First Amendment. Needless to say, when so many constitutional amendments are impacted, as defense attorneys, we are extremely wary of what such laws might bring.
In other states, red flag laws have been implemented in such a way as to provide a form of legalized “swatting,” which is where the police seize your weapons based solely on a tip provided by someone who does not like you. The gun owner then has the legally onerous task of attending court hearings and attempting to prove they are not a threat, so they can regain their Second Amendment rights. For these reasons, gun owners should watch red flag law proposals closely and suspiciously.
For more information on red flag laws and how they impact your rights, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.