CAUSE OF DEATH: RED FLAG
Will Red Flag Laws Stop Gun Owners Seeking Medical Care
News Release from Hawaii Firearms Coalition, December 29, 2019
Hawaii Firearms Coalition recently held a poll asking gun owners if they would talk to their doctors about any mental health issues they may be having, knowing that their doctor could file a red flag order against them.
The poll created by Hawaii Firearms Coalition read: "Many states passing red flag laws, that allow a doctor to petition a court to remove your firearms if they feel you are a danger to yourself or others.
Knowing this, as a gun owner, would you seek medical assistance for any mental health issues, you may believe you are suffering from?"
We had a total of 1,478 people take the poll, and the results were overwhelmingly NO. 93% (1385 ) of the people surveyed said they would not seek medical care even if they believed they were suffering from a mental health issue.(4)
So-called red flag laws are being passed across the nation. These laws allow a variety of people to go to court and file for an order to take a person's guns away. The person filling for these court orders must merely state that they believe a person is a danger to themselves or to others. The current list of people caries by state but often includes; family members, doctors, intimate partners (current or former), police officers, people living in the same residence, and teachers.
These orders are issued by courts ex parte (with the interest of one party) what this means is that the court does not notify the person who is being flagged about the order. In fact, the first time they would find out about one being issued is after it is issued, and a police swat team arrives to take their firearms away.
Many mental health issues are passing and easily managed with the right medical care. In fact, according to John Hopkins Medicine, about 1 in 4 adults -- suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.(1)
For many, the fear of having their second amendment rights taken away (possibly forever) will push them not to seek the medical care they need. Many mental health conditions are preventable or curable as long as medical treatment is sort at the right time. Any law that discourages people from seeking medical care should be considered harmful.
Currently, there are a number of laws that provide for someone's firearms to be taken away (TRO's and medical heath holds). These laws are used across the nation, successfully, to protect communities from people that are proven to be a danger. Red flag laws came about due to the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. The shooter in the case had shown many signs of being a danger to himself or others, including making threats regarding school shootings and attempting suicide. " On September 23, 2016, a peer counselor notified the school resource officer of his suicide attempt and intent to buy a gun;" (2)
The police and medical professionals, in this case, failed to follow through with the current laws, they failed to go to court and use evidence to show he was a threat and have him taken into custody. To make it easier to take away someone's firearms in the future red flag laws were written with no due process or affirmative evidence requirements. Essentially as long as a person swears that what they are saying is true, someone's firearms can be taken away with a care to the person's rights.
With doctors being on the list of people who can take away your firearms, you not only have to worry about mentioning something that could be perceived as being a threat to safety, but you also have to worry about malicious intent. A doctor who may be anti-gun or perhaps have a disagreement with over a billing issue or medical procedure can not call the police or go to court and punish a person by taking away their firearms.
These so-called gun safety laws are a danger not only to the rights of gun owners but also to their health and wellbeing. With nearly two-thirds of firearms deaths being the result of suicide (3), and law that discourages people seeing help is going to increase the number of lives lost.