Red Flag and other Senate actions

Pilot on Red Flag and DeSteph bills

It could have been worse.

The Senate Judiciary Committee spent a few days on SB240, the “Red Flag”  bill and restored some due process. It still violates rights by penalizing people who have not committed a crime, or even been accused of one, but there was compromise on this bill. The Red Flag request must come from the Commonwealth’s Attorney or two policemen, and not just an angry neighbor or estranged spouse and the police must make peaceful contact initially to ask for surrender of firearms before obtaining a warrant to enter forcibly. That will save some lives.

The Committee rejected ALL of Sen DeStephs bills that would have provided mandatory penalties for the use of a firearm in the commission of certain violent crimes. That was very disappointing. They even rejected one that provides a mandatory penalty for knowingly selling a stolen gun to a felon. Amazingly, convictions on that charge normally get probation. One has to wonder if the Democrats are truly interested in keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals.

There are more bills coming next week, and then the House Bills come up too and get exchanged.

18 thoughts on “Red Flag and other Senate actions

  1. Several states have passed so-called red-flag law and thus far, they have survived challenges in state courts. However, the case law is slim and none have been appealed to the federal level.

    In my view, they will not pass muster at the SC level, for an ex parte hearing is by definition, lacking in due process. Infringe means what it says and if a law-abiding individual’s guns are confiscated because he or she “might” pose a threat, their 2nd-Amend rights have clearly been infringed.

    If an individual is dangerous or has committed a crime, they should be arrested. If they are not or have not, they should be left alone.

    God-given rights are either unalienable, or they are not.


    1. I tend to agree, if a person is messed up enough that he needs to be disarmed, he is bad enough off that he should be committed temporarily for evaluation.

      If he is bent on doing harm he can still run people down or blow or burn them up. Or go out and get a black market gun.

      But I’m sure the Democrat Senators feel like they ‘did something’ and these days that’s what matters.

      If they really wanted to do something, they could have passed DeStephs bills.


      1. WRT to DeSteph’s proposals, the country as a whole is starting to step away from mandatory minimum sentences in all cases, both state and federal. To add them and take away a judge’s judgement on a case-by-case basis is probably why they didn’t get approved. Just a thought.


        1. Probably so, but nonetheless, enhanced penalties for use of a firearm are very effective, Google Project Exile. It was very effective until prosecutors made a policy of plea bargaining it away.

          Really, do you want to reduce violence with guns or not?


    2. “ If an individual is dangerous or has committed a crime…”

      Define “dangerous”but hasn’t committed a crime. That is the gist of a red flag law.

      Many of the shootings had perpetrators that left a lot of clues with manifestos, postings, rants, threats to businesses, wives, etc.

      I think this is what we are trying to head off. What good is it if we wait until people are dead?

      There are some compromises that need to be made in a violent culture like ours. The right to bear arms should not be at the expense of the right to life nor the responsibility of the state to protect it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right to life is an interesting argument for anything considering the liberal stance on unfettered abortion without concern for the right to life of an unborn child.


      2. RE: “I think this is what we are trying to head off. What good is it if we wait until people are dead?”

        No good, maybe, but better than normalizing government intervention in our private lives.


          1. You’re missing the point, and that is that gun laws are neither the problem nor the solution.

            The gun laws are the same in Petersburg and Chesapeake, yet Petersburg’s homicide rate is 20 times that of Chesapeake.

            So, do you propose to burden Chesapeake residents with gun laws so Dracoian that Petersburg becomes safe? Would that even work? What about the adverse unintended consequences?

            Or do we look at what makes Petersburg so dangerous compared to Chesapeake, and address those problems?

            One of the worst things about gun laws is that they create the illusion that you have addressed a problem when in fact you have not.


          2. We are not getting rid of guns. Relatively unfettered ownership is part of our DNA. We have had higher murder rates in the past. During prohibition I believe was one era.

            The red flag laws are about gun violence closer to home. People get a bit tired of get shot at while shopping, studying, traveling, eating, listening to music, etc..

            The percentage of victims seems low, but the impact is high. And the awful truth is that we didn’t worry much when the crimes were among the poor, minorities and the inner cities. Out of sight, out of mind was part of it.

            Now we have a surge of domestic terrorism fueled by social media, grievances real and imagined and crappy mental healthcare. And by domestic terrorism I mean even those that wipe out their own families, attack bosses, etc..
            The old rules don’t apply.

            BTW, I just received an ad via email selling CCP in just “minutes” on line “before the gun rights disappear”.

            I have no idea of its legitimacy, but vetting can’t be much.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. We’re getting some issues mixed here.

            The difference between Petersburg and Chesapeake have nothing to do with Red Flag Laws, that is about trying to solve problems that are not gun problems with gun laws.

            Regarding Red Flag laws, the concept is not so bad, but there are due process problems that must be dealt with. The Senate version was extensively modified to address many of those issues, the House version was rammed through with no attempt at establishing due process. Which one are we going to wind up with? Will there be a compromise in which SOME of your Constitutional rights are protected and others ignored? I listened to the House hearing this morning it the intent of the Democrats on the committee to do harm to lawful gun owners as much as they could get away with was quite clear.

            Regarding the online courses for CHPs, there are two aspects to consider, first, the mechanics of being able to use a firearm and, more importantly in this context, the legal and ethical implications of carrying and using a firearm. Not everyone needs both.

            Do you really want to require a retired SEAL to take a $100 basic firearms course with range time, or does he just need to know the rules of engagement for concealed carry in Virginia?

            What would make sense to me is to exempt from the range time requirement anyone with prior military or law enforcement experience or who holds a hunting license. They need only learn the law.


  2. This whole exercise is intended to promote the lie that democrats make the world safer when in fact they do nothing but discriminate against law abiding firearms owners. The most compelling example of Democrat incompetence was to table the Desteph bill that increased penalties for knowingly selling guns to felons. They complain about strawman purchases but refuse to enact legislation that targets such. To do so is not in line with their criminal justice reform agenda which basically tells people to disregard law because you can always claim racial discrmination to get off easy..


        1. The way I see it, the red flag laws are a way of getting local responsibility and awareness of people who may be a serious threat.

          National databases are next to useless in that respect.

          Yes, there is the danger of a local “pariah” being falsely maligned. But that already happens. Ask any minority shopping, driving or walking in the “wrong” neighborhood.

          So many of the shootings are followed by info regarding, postings or anti-social behavior. It might be time to at least check into such behavior but trying to minimize the impact on legal rights.

          Nothing is perfect.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Lots of talk about criminal activity or being dangerous to others wrt the Red Flag laws under consideration. Another reason behind the idea of these is to protect individuals from doing harm to themselves. Suicide by gun is a problem that is part of this.

    And Doc, this is what I was talking about wrt to gun PROPOSED laws. The process is being followed. You may not agree with the outcome, but legislative activity is happening in the manner it is supposed to and nothing is getting shoved down anyone’s throat. Your hyperbolic rants when bills were pre-filed were unnecessary and harmful to your arguments. -IMHO


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