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Charlie T Waite

A yellow light for red flag laws

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The legendary Professor Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, and one of the most famous legal minds in the world — and a dedicated liberal — speaks out on "red flag laws:"


"Red Flag laws run the risk of setting a dangerous precedent. If the government can take your weapons based on a prediction today, what will prevent it from taking your freedom based on a prediction tomorrow?

That is not a far future concern. The United States arrested more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II based on wildly exaggerated predictions of sabotage. States are also unlocking punished sexual predators even after they complete the sentence based on predictions of return. (The best predictor of future violence is past violence, so sexual predator laws may have fewer false positives.) Criminal defendants – who have a right to presumption of innocence – are often denied bail based on predictions that they will flee or commit further crimes.

So the danger of going from red flag encroachment to red flag prevention is real. We should be careful about denying individual rights based on dubious predictions. The Red Flag laws will be worth trying as a firearm remedy if they remain limited to the temporary confiscation of weapons pending a substantial review of the process. But when the government starts removing some rights for security, all rights are at risk."

The story was behind the Washington Post paywall, but here is an open link...this is important information for us all!

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