President Ronald Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
Reagan could not have been more correct, and it is what many of us have been warning about when Democrats, and some Republicans, call for the government to “fix” anything.
Every candidate for president on the Democratic side has a plethora of government “fixes” they want to impose if they are elected. Among those fixes are red-flag laws, and a recent case in Florida showed just how inept the government is at implementing them.
Red-flag laws, supported by almost all Democrats and even some Republicans, are laws by which someone close to a gun owner can seek a court order to have that person’s firearms removed if they can convince a judge that the person is a danger to themselves or others.
“Without red flag laws you cannot remove guns from someone unless you adjudicate them incompetent or until they commit a crime and can’t pass a background check and red flag laws help us get ahead of it,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, assured us after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018, according to WTVT.
“You have to go to court. This is not just willy-nilly. A lot of people are concerned about that. There is due process. There is strong due process,” he said.
But a veteran who just had his firearms taken from him due to a mix-up would likely beg to differ with the senator.
Jon Carpenter, a 200-pound fisherman and military veteran, was stunned when he received a certified letter from Florida officials telling him that his firearms license had been suspended, WTVT reported.
Jon is a law-abiding citizen who has the misfortune of having the same name as a drifter who had threatened an elderly couple.
“He’s 110 pounds. I’m 200. He has brown eyes. I have hazel. He has black hair. I have no hair,” Carpenter said.
“I was just dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to do. I called the state and they basically said, ‘There’s an injunction against you.'”
Carpenter said that he also received a letter informing him that he was reported to the state’s Department of Children and Families on charges of elder abuse and that he had to surrender his firearms.
“The state basically said, if it’s not you, go to the courthouse. They’ll give you a letter and they’ll get you reinstated,” he said.
But that is not what happened.
“Then, he finally comes out, and he’s like you basically have to go to court on the 27th, in two weeks. So I said, ‘I’m guilty until I prove myself innocent? That’s why I’m here, trying to show its not me.’ And he’s like, ‘Since you‘re here, you’ve been served. Here’s your restraining order,'” the veteran said.
After getting in touch with someone in the sheriff’s office, Carpenter was able to get the injunction shelved and also call the state to get his firearms license back.
“They said they process it in the order it was received and it takes 6-8 weeks. I was like, ‘So you can suspend it in one day, instantly, but for somebody else’s mistake, I’ve got to wait 6-8 weeks?'” he said.
Yes, Jon, because that is how bureaucracy works. He was able to get his situation resolved quicker, but he said that what happened to him should serve as a warning to politicians who think red flag laws are the answer to gun crimes.
In some cases, they could be a lifesaver, but, as with anything the government gets its hands on, it is rife with potential for mistakes or malicious use. That is the danger any time the government is given more power.
Be it power over who can and cannot have firearms or, more frighteningly, who can or cannot have health care, giving bureaucrats more power is almost never the answer.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.