Today, in a video message, Gov. Bill Lee announced his support for an “improved order of protection law,” otherwise known as a “Red Flag” gun confiscation order. While the governor has described his legislation as a “mental health” bill, even the mainstream press has correctly identified the measure as a “Red Flag” law. Gov. Lee’s legislation stigmatizes gun owners and threatens Second Amendment rights by explicitly targeting only conduct involving firearms and ammunition.
Whether labeled “Red Flag” (New York), “gun violence restraining orders” (California), “extreme risk protection orders” (federal government), or a “mental health order of protection,” these measures have serious problems and turn the Second Amendment into a second-class right by allowing firearms to be seized without adequate due process. The legislature is now operating in “flow motion,” which means bills can be heard in committee and passed on the same day. Please contact your lawmakers immediately and express your opposition to ALL gun control legislation. Let them know that you expect them to protect your Second Amendment rights.
As with all “Red Flag” laws, the Governor’s proposal would empower the government to seize a person’s firearms without proving a person is dangerous by obtaining a criminal conviction or committing the person to a mental institution. The procedure does not provide adequate due process protections, allowing the court to issue an order in cases where an individual has not received actual notice that their rights are under threat.
Worse, Gov. Lee’s attempt to sway Tennessee gun owners by describing his “Red Flag” law as “mental health” legislation could result in a permanent federal firearms prohibition for those targeted under the scheme. Federal law (18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4)) prohibits a person “who has been adjudicated as a mental defective” from possessing firearms. Gov. Lee’s “Red Flag” scheme could be found by the Biden Department of Justice to be just such an adjudication, which would render anyone subject to this procedure permanently prohibited from possessing firearms.
The drafters of this legislation appear to have recognized this problem and placed language in the bill to try to stop the federal government from doing this. However, Tennessee cannot control how the anti-gun Biden Administration will choose to interpret this “Red Flag” procedure.
For more information on the many problems with “Red Flag” laws, please see our most recent alert.
We urge all NRA members and Second Amendment supporters in Tennessee to contact their state senators and representatives to let them know you OPPOSE “Red Flag” gun confiscation orders and all gun control.