Bottom Line Up Front
I find that a lot of wisdom, sound advice, and guidance on how to solve the problems of the present is found by simply listening and learning from our past. Therefore, I’ve decided to use the quotes of Calvin Coolidge, Daniel Webster, and Thomas B. Reed to convey a few personal thoughts about Red Flag laws.
Don’t get what I’m saying wrong, I’m all for ensuring that we keep guns away from those who shouldn’t have them. However, we must ensure that legislation can’t be used as a backdoor gun grab from Americans who are simply exercising their Constitutional rights. Anything that Congress enacts must ensure to protect everyone’s rights and if guns are going to be taken, they should only be done so where a person has been adjudicated a legitimate threat to society.
Don’t Live Under Rocks or Red Flags
“There can be no perfect control of personal conduct by national legislation.” (Calvin Coolidge)
In recent years, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard about “Red Flag” laws and how they’re a panacea for Mass Shootings and other gun crimes. In fact, every Democrat running for President are espousing them or are outright threatening to take unprecedented “Executive Action.” Weirdly, in recent weeks many well-intending Republicans have joined the “Red Flag” chorus. Thankfully we have a Constitution to stand between us and well-intended bad ideas, or as the great orator Daniel Webster put it, “The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions.”
Good Intentions & the Constitution
“The Constitution is the sole source and guaranty of national freedom.” (Calvin Coolidge)
Good intentions aside, it seems that most versions of proposed Red Flag legislation have elements that would make them Unconstitutional. This leads me to believe that many in Congress view the Constitution as a small bump in the road instead of being the supreme law of the land. Personally, I think there are well-intending individuals in favor of these laws, but there’s far more who would abuse these laws and use them to push their own ideology on society.
If you’re confused about Red Flag laws, then you’re not alone, especially if your only source(s) are the politicians in Washington, all who are giving differing answers. In fact, the so-called experts, pundits, various publications, scholars and law enforcement professionals have varied interpretations and opinions on the matter as well. This can be seen by doing a simple online search for Red Flag Laws and seeing for yourself. With all the various opinions and differing information out there, there’s no wonder why so many Americans are ill-informed, which is exactly how those who support them want it.
Morals, Values and Mental Health
“We do not need more government; we need more culture. We do not need more laws; we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.” (Calvin Coolidge)
Personally, I get outraged, upset and want to see change every time I hear of mass shootings. But legislation isn’t going to solve the problems that ail our society, especially in our modern anything-goes world where we can’t call out the lack of morals and values lest we fall victim to attacks ourselves. The left for decades has pushed their ideology where facts and reason have fallen by the wayside and replaced with political correctness and feelings. Instead of looking to have a dialogue over societal morals and values while simultaneously working towards fixing our nation’s Mental Healthcare laws, we only hear from the left that if only they could infringe on 99.99% of law-abiding Americans then all our problems would be solved.
If Red Flag proponents have their way, more than just the 2nd Amendment would be threatened, in fact, the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Amendments would be under assault. When I think of Red Flag laws or similar legislation, I’m reminded of a quote from former Speaker of the U.S. House Thomas B. Reed who said, “One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation.” To me, it’s completely dishonest and misleading when a politician tells their constituents that they’ll solve societal ills by simply passing a law. As President Coolidge put it, “While there may be those of high intelligence who violate the law at times, the barbarian and the defective always violate it.”
In all Fairness
“You can display no greater wisdom than by resisting proposals for needless legislation.” (Calvin Coolidge)
To be fair, Red Flag laws could likely have a small positive effect in some cases, but, they’re fraught with countless certain negatives. In fact, if you were to list the Pros and Cons, again being fair, you would be able to list several Pros before drawing a blank, forcing you to move on to the Cons, where you would only be stopped by sheer fatigue. When proposing any legislation, regardless if it’s a Red Flag or Traffic law, where the Cons by far outweigh the Pros, there’s no doubt that what’s being proposed is a bad bill and as Calvin Coolidge put it, “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”
Amendments Directly Under Attack
“To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.” (Calvin Coolidge)
The 2nd Amendment:
“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The 4th Amendment:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The 5th Amendment:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
I’m sure everyone has heard the standard line that good people do not need laws to tell them how to act, while bad people will find a way around the laws. This is obviously true, but any good legislator should listen to the legitimate concerns of their constituents. I find that an oath to the Constitution must always outweigh anyone’s opinion or as Calvin Coolidge put it “…Opinions and instructions do not outmatch the Constitution.” He went on to say that “Instructions are not given unless given constitutionally. There can be no constitutional instruction to do an unconstitutional act.” However, I feel that there’s never any harm in listening and empathizing to the concerns of others, in fact, it can be a valuable character trait.
More great quotes from Calvin Coolidge
“We have got so many regulatory laws already…we would be just as well off if we didn’t have any more.”
“Laws do not make reforms, reforms make laws. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority.”
“If ever the citizen comes to feel that our government does not protect him in the free and equal assertion of his rights… he will withdraw his allegiance from that government…”
“There is scarcely a word in the constitution of any of our States or of our nation that was not written there for the purpose of protecting the liberties of the people from some servitude which a despotic government had at some time imposed upon them.”
Todd McKinley is a contributing writer for iVoteAmerica and iVoteTennesee. Todd and his family reside in the great state of Tennessee where he was a candidate for the US House of Representatives in 2018.