Does Our System Actually Know How to Act on Them?
Cristal M Clark
The answer to that would be overwhelmingly no. A new bipartisan gun law, signed by President Joe Biden last month, has a provision that encourages states to enact “so-called” red flag laws that allow police to temporarily remove guns from people who are at extreme risk of harming themselves or others, including intimate and domestic partners.
Very rarely however, will that happen in all actuality because no one really knows how to act upon these “red flags.”
Some will take it too far whilst others not far enough and even worse some law enforcement groups are refusing to act upon any sort of red flag laws over the second amendment right to bear arms.
“The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
Naturally, the worry for many is that It simply is yet another law that will do very little in the way of curbing gun violence and mass shootings.
Look realistically, law enforcement and the system if you will could have and should have been doing more than what they were before this new law, this is unlikely to change much.
How many recent mass shooters have taken to social media prior to a mass shooting and nothing was done to stop them? Many were reported by people who knew them and nothing was done to stop them, they delightfully went on to kill.
Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting found that from 2017 through 2020, law enforcement repeatedly ignored even the most glaring signs that a victim was at high risk of being killed.
Now to be quite fair here, the blame should not be thrown at just law enforcement, we do have an entire legal system that starts with the coppers, then a DA and then a Judge.
The coppers cannot file charges that will not stick which is how most cities, municipalities and states operate, hence if the DA is unwilling to file charges because they do not think that they can win, people walk free to kill.
Which is a significantly large part of what is wrong with our system, we focus on winning cases rather than, the fucking law and protecting society.
The Guardian reported that: “according to more than three dozen interviews with domestic violence and criminal justice experts around the US, most law enforcement agencies provide little or no training in how to recognise red flags or how to use them to protect victims and their families.”
Now, during my own time working in and around law enforcement what does happen is that law enforcement officers typically have very little to no empathy for a victim, especially if they keep going back to an abusive partner, so they tend to overlook or dismiss warning signs or red flags rather. Law enforcement fails in so many compounding ways with domestic violence cases they fail even more when comes to threats of mass shooters.
The same thing happens when people report parents, friends, they report social media posts, co-workers report concerns, bystanders, law enforcement and our legal system are not trained or simply no longer care because I have seen that too. They feel under appreciated and are less likely to actually look for the warning signs much less to act to upon them.
When it comes to reporting non partners who might be a potential high risk individual who is making threats of mass shootings, or engaging with groups who threaten domestic terrorism, well law enforcement and our legal system have no idea whatsoever as to how to deal with that.
And on the other hand when they do see warning signs they fail to act, whilst they do make the effort it’s actually very little, police, prosecutors and courts more often than not do not follow through.
What that plays out like is they will tell someone they are not allowed to have weapons but they do nothing in the line of making sure any legally owned guns are turned over nor do they return to anyone’s home to ensure that they have no guns that they should not have.
Right now in the United States we are seeing soaring rates of gun violence, over half of which could be prevented if our system knew how to act upon these red flag laws.
When you hear law enforcement and the system say things like, “it was just a post on social media, or he/she said it in anger but we cannot do anything unless they act upon it,” it is clear that they do not understand the meaning of red flags.
Whilst many here in the United States do have high hopes for Red Flag laws, unless police, our Judicial System and Courts actually know how to deal with, look for Red Flags and actually act upon them, this is just another law on the books that will do very little if anything to change things.
Cristal M Clark