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Raising a Black Flag Against Red Flag Laws

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Here we go again. Another mass shooting followed by demands for more gun control on one side and calls for more armed citizens on the other. The inflammatory rhetoric over who to blame coupled with claims that something—anything—be done to stop the next one sings like static television noise. Simultaneously, Democrat politicians fundraise off of someone else's misery.


I am tired of it. 

This ritual is mentally exhausting. I refuse to get dragged down that rabbit hole anymore. In the immediate 48 hours following a mass killing, I don't rush something to print. It's not my style to be the first one to be heard. I like to take a step back, let the families of the victims bury their dead, and pray for them. The left doesn't have the same decency for the people who have experienced grief and horror.  Instead, the left immediately ratchets up their anti-gun political agenda, thereby forgetting any thoughts and prayers for the victim's families. This is not surprising since they have been crusading over the last several decades to scrub God from everywhere on earth. Like sharks sensing blood in the water, they use a tragedy to gain money, votes, and the opportunity to steal our liberties. Must I remind you what that gem of a bureaucrat Rahm Emanuel said about never letting a crisis go to waste? 

It's already been several days of knee-jerk comments from the talking heads on liberal news sites and editorial boards regarding the need to make sweeping gun policy changes. Let me first say this about the need to "do something." I like to remind people that we should never make sweeping policy changes in a state of hysteria. A wiser course of action would be for elected officials to talk people in off the ledge so we can have a reasonable conversation about the horrific incident after things settle down. Emotion-based policy always turns out to be a lousy policy loaded with unintended consequences. We shouldn’t look to just do something. If anything we should look to do something meaningful and if we cannot find something meaningful, doing nothing might be the best course of action. 


In a state of emotion, citizens are easily hoodwinked into giving away liberties and giving the government expanded powers. Bad Idea. We did that after 9-11. We are still paying for that emotion-based policy. We ended up handing the government more power to spy—not only on suspected terrorists—but on American citizens without a warrant. 

That brings me to the latest emotion-based idea to stop mass shootings: Red Flag Laws. Let's strip away the good intentions part of this right away. This law would allow the government to violate our Fourteenth Amendment due process rights along with Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights to the Constitution and confiscate our property (guns) on an unsubstantiated citizen complaint about something a person might do. That is a lower standard than the reasonable suspicion standard we allow police to use. That is an “anything is possible” standard. Red Flag Laws will not stop the next mass shooting just like banning the Confederate Flag after Charleston did not nor did banning bump stocks after the Las Vegas massacre.

Red Flag Laws are an assault on our Second Amendment rights. Period. Anything proposed by the left regarding firearms is a ruse. It's like the left attacking the First Amendment to supposedly curb hate speech. You always have to look for the hidden agenda within their “good intentions.” They do everything stealthily to conceal their real objectives. They are exploiting El Paso and Dayton like they exploit any horrific incident to catch a nation in shock to hopefully give away their liberty. 


The Second Amendment is personal to me. These liberty-stripping laws will not stop the next mass shooting. It's a Trojan Horse toward gun confiscation. So are the so-called universal background checks. First of all, there is nothing universal about background checks. Ask any person prohibited from possessing a gun. If they want a gun, they will find a way to get one. I confess that I don't know what will stop mass killings because we are dealing with flaws in the human condition, but I am not going to cede back to the government, rights that my slave ancestors shed blood and tears over so that the U.S. Constitution would apply to them. One of the hallmarks of slavery was that blacks could not be armed to defend against kidnapping, lynching, and mob attacks. Black Codes enacted after the civil war continued the prohibition of newly freed slaves from being able to exercise their Second Amendment freedoms. It’s been referred to as the Black Tradition of Arms.

Shame on anybody who thinks that Red Flag Laws are a good idea. It was Benjamin Franklin who said, "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." 

You won't get any support for red flag laws from me.  I encourage you to push back as well.

Sheriff David Clarke Jr. is former Sheriff of Milwaukee Co, Wisconsin, President of AmericasSheriff LLC, advisory Board member for We Build the Wall Inc, author of the book Cop Under Fire: Beyond Hashtags of Race Crime and Politics for a Better America. To learn more visit


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