The Humboldt County Commission recently passed a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution in response to a grassroots effort. In the wake of a contentious meeting Sept. 30 with Sheriff Mike Allen, the sheriff is facing a recall effort organized by Dawn Principe, the owner of Sage Hill Arms of Winnemucca.
During the hearing on red flag laws, the response from county law enforcement was mixed. It was clear that the officials were not exactly pleased with anti-gun money and Las Vegas Democrats putting them in this position. However, what appears to have gone unsaid is that for liability reasons, law enforcement has to use this tool in extreme circumstances.
What was left out of the discussions is the mention of probable cause. Probable cause is the standard for the issuance of search warrant under the Fourth Amendment and if a red flag order can be substantiated on probable cause, it is likely constitutional. Such cause would be things like specific threats or plans. Why an ordinary search warrant and existing conspiracy laws couldn't be used is a matter of agenda. Red flag laws are a concerted effort by hoplopaths to lower the bar to confiscate guns.
While Humboldt County will probably not start seizing anyone and everyone's guns for the slightest pretext, the possibilities of these laws are frightening. Also, it was unfortunate to see the county officials pointing fingers at the legislature and court system. DDA Kevin Pasquale said “we’re not the ones who get to decide if a law is unconstitutional. A judge has to decide it’s unconstitutional.”
While that's true, courts frequently abuse the constitution. Judicial review was created by the US Supreme Court in its decision Marbury v. Madison. Judicial review of laws is not in the Constitution so courts, for good or bad, are not the final arbiter of what is and isn't constitutional. Sadly, we've let them have that power. Yet this cop-outs sound remarkably like Nazi's on trial in Weimar Germany who said "I was just following orders."
If Sheriff Allen wants to abide by his moral standard to protect people, he damn well better be right that the person who loses their guns is a dangerous psycho. This problem could be solved by relying on probable cause that the person is about to commit a crime (conspiracy) or by scheduling an emergency court hearing where the person can defend himself. Personally, I think the moral standard is more of an excuse against liability if the sheriff doesn't take the guns and the anti-gun media jumps on him.
The Thousand Oaks, CA, Borderline killer was contacted by deputies and never met the criteria for being a threat to himself or others. The same was for the USCB/Isla Vista, CA, killer, the killer at Virginia Tech, and many others. Red flag laws are at best a liability and comfort blanket for the "do something crowd" and at worst a way to harass gun owners.
No sheriff or government official should be denying people their due process rights nor confiscating property without probable cause.
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West