SCOTUS Makes Decision on Gun Rights that Will Affect Red Flag Laws
The Supreme Court made a very important ruling on Monday regarding a case that was presented with them that had to do with the violation of somebody’s Fourth Amendment right. The case involved an incident where Hey man from Rhode Island had his firearms illegally seized.
The ruling made by the Supreme Court actually overturned Hey first Circuit Court ruling that said police officers in this case or within their right to confiscate this person’s firearms. What is even the morning couraging about this is that the decision made by the Supreme Court was actually unanimous.
One thing that this decision actually does is it opens the door for gun rights activists to have the ability to challenge the legality of red flag laws. Approximately 40% of the states in our country have some sort of red flag laws.
These vary in degree from state to state but what they do is allow a family member, a friend, a doctor, or a police officer to petition the court in order for that person’s firearms to be taken away from them.
This is a violation of the Second Amendment as well as the Fourth Amendment and the reason why this is such a disaster constitutionally speaking is that there is a lack of due process. A judge has the power to decide whether or not someone’s firearms can be taken away from them without that individual even knowing what has transpired leading up to that event period
Justice Samuel Alito pointed out how this affects the red flag laws:
This case falls within one important category of cases that could be viewed as involving community caretaking: conducting a search or seizure for the purpose of preventing a person from committing suicide. Assuming that petitioner did not voluntarily consent to go with the officers for a psychological assessment,1 he was seized and thus subjected to a serious deprivation of liberty. But was this warrantless seizure “reasonable”? We have addressed the standards required by due process for involuntary commitment to a mental treatment facility but we have not addressed Fourth Amendment restrictions on seizures like the one that we must assume occurred here, i.e., a short-term seizure conducted for the purpose of ascertaining whether a person presents an imminent risk of suicide. Every State has laws allowing emergency seizures for psychiatric treatment, observation, or stabilization, but these laws vary in many respects, including the categories of persons who may request the emergency action, the reasons that can justify the action, the necessity of a judicial proceeding, and the nature of the proceeding. Mentioning these laws only in passing, petitioner asked us to render a decision that could call features of these laws into question. The Court appropriately refrains from doing so.
This case also implicates another body of law that petitioner glossed over: the so-called “red flag” laws that some States are now enacting. These laws enable the police to seize guns pursuant to a court order to prevent their use for suicide or the infliction of harm on innocent persons. They typically specify the standard that must be met and the procedures that must be followed before firearms may be seized. Provisions of red flag laws may be challenged under the Fourth Amendment, and those cases may come before us. Our decision today does not address those issues.