Red flag laws deny constitutional rights

After a tragedy, the impulse of politicians is always to “do something,” rather than to do the right thing.

“Red flag” laws are an example of this urge to “do something” instead of the right thing. Simply put, “red flag” laws are unconstitutional, they won’t work, and they will likely make things worse by keeping those who need treatment from seeking treatment out of fear of being added to a “red flag” list.

We already have laws that allow for a person to be adjudicated as mentally ill, after which they could not legally purchase or possess a gun. Existing laws are superior to “red flag” laws because they protect due process and the presumption of innocence, whereas “red flag” laws do not.

A free society is based on certain bedrock principles, and we shouldn’t abandon them just because we are scared or heartbroken.

In Parkland, Florida, the Sheriff could have used existing laws to keep the killer from legally purchasing weapons based on his prior violent behavior, such as beating up his adoptive mother and sending death threats to other students. But the Sheriff chose not to do this for political reasons.

The man who killed 26 people at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, had a court-martial on his Air Force record, but the national database was never updated with this information.

“Red flag” laws would allow tricksters and trolls, domestic abusers and stalkers, and the politically motivated to immediately curtail a fundamental constitutional right with almost no recourse for the accused. Americans of all stripes should reject any laws that deprive innocent people of their constitutional rights, and we should set our sights high enough to demand solutions that actually work and don’t violate our rights.

— Teresa J. Ballew, Clarksville

Raising age to buy tobacco won't help

What do you know, another “conservative” guy wants to expand the role of government. It’s evident Todd Young didn’t learn economics when he attended University of Chicago. Not that a university knows how to educate students on economics in the first place. There were no university professors calling for a “Great” recession in 2008. Todd Young doesn’t understand how markets operate, in particular black markets.

Todd Young is trying to pass a law that raises tobacco smoking age from 18 to 21. And this is supposed to make our environment safer? Let’s look at history of prohibition, on a grand scale and a targeted scale. How safe was alcohol prohibition? How safe is the existing narcotic prohibition? Look up the fatalities if your government school didn’t educate you on these events. How safe is the current prohibition of alcohol for minors? We’ve had quite a few teenage deaths in our area within the last couple decades from alcohol related incidents. And there have been many more alcohol overdoses and alcohol abuses by teenagers.

The goal isn’t to educate. The goal is to control via appeasement. The move is to denounce everything in the previous paragraph along the lines of “Todd Young is an expert on narcotics and we should follow his lead.” The Bushes were experts on warfare; was it right to follow their lead?

What we should be doing is operating on principle. The Non-Aggression Principle. We should allow the marketplace to operate under voluntary interactions. The voluntary association of individuals will allow peaceful relationships and allow information about actions to be more freely transferred.

Prohibiting individuals younger than a target age will only have the unintended consequence of increasing the number of tobacco-related health emergencies. This is history setting itself up to repeat. The road to (you know where) is paved with good intentions.

Summary of Todd Young and his bill. He’ll send your teenager to fight poor people in a 3rd world country to enrich bankers, politicians, lobbyists, and military contractors. He’ll also jail your teenager if they want to smoke a plant that also enriches lobbyists, politicians, and financiers.

— Tyler Sandefur, Jeffersonville

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