Republicans Sound Alarm On DOJ’s ‘Red Flag’ Initiative

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Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Attorney General Merrick Garland in Washington on March 21, 2024. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Republicans issued a warning over the weekend after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a training “resource center” to help implement state red flag laws designed to keep guns away from certain individuals.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement on April 24 that the center will “provide our partners across the country with valuable resources to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others.” The website, which was launched this week, will provide technical assistance and training to “law enforcement officials, prosecutors, attorneys, judges, clinicians, victim service and social service providers, community organizations, and behavioral health professionals.”

Red flag laws, or Extreme Risk Protection Orders, allow officials to confiscate guns from an individual under a judge’s order if the individual is “at risk of harming themselves or others,” the statement said.

“The establishment of the Center is the latest example of the Justice Department’s work to use every tool provided by the landmark Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to protect communities from gun violence,” Mr. Garland said in the statement.

The announcement from the Justice Department comes two years after Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which created the process to aid states and municipalities in enforcement of red flag laws. The measure was introduced after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 21 children and teachers dead, while the DOJ said in January that local police demonstrated no urgency and essentially failed in its response to the shooting.

Several Republican lawmakers sounded the alarm after the DOJ’s announcement over the weekend.

Merrick Garland just announced a massive Red Flag Operation that the DOJ will be running by using EVERY spy tool the US government has in order to violate American’s Second Amendment!!” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “This comes right after [House Speaker Mike] Johnson fully funded [President Joe] Biden’s weaponized DOJ!”

What the … is this evil? A Federal Red Flag center; We did not authorize this,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) wrote on X. The Kentucky lawmaker noted that the announcement came after the Senate was able to pass a funding bill for the government in an early vote on March 23.

What part of ’shall not be infringed’ is hard to understand?” Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), wrote, referring to the text of the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

None among Reps. Greene, Cammack, or Massie voted for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in 2022. Only 14 GOP lawmakers voted in favor of the bill at the time; 10 of them have left Congress or were not reelected.

Twenty-one states have red flag laws on the books, according to a statement from the White House issued on March 23.

The DOJ announcement comes after an appeals court upheld New York state’s red flag law, saying that the measure does not violate the Second Amendment.

This regulation is consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation in keeping dangerous individuals from carrying guns and, therefore, is presumptively lawful,” the court’s opinion reads.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, praised the court’s decision, saying that New York’s attempt to strengthen “our ’red flag’ laws … [keeps] dangerous weapons away from people who pose a risk to themselves or others. We are committed to continuing the fight against gun violence and protecting public safety.”

However, a lawyer for the plaintiff, Corey Monroe, told reporters last week that the law doesn’t have adequate protections.

“We strongly believe that New York’s red flag law continues to lack sufficient and constitutionally required procedural protections for people who might find themselves on the receiving end of such an order,” he said.

 

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