Raleigh’s News & Observer published an excellent editorial this morning that ought to be a “must read” at the Legislative Building. As is pointed out in “NC needs a red-flag law to stem gun violence caused by mental distress,” every time there’s a mass shooting, the NRA and its apologists claim the problem isn’t guns but the people who use them. Now, a smart state legislator and former judge has proposed legislation that responds to that claim by proposing a bill that would allow a judge to issue an order confiscating the guns — at least temporarily — of someone who is found to be a danger to themselves or the community. Here’s the N&O:
“Red-flag laws enable family members or law enforcement to ask a judge to issue a temporary order for the removal of guns from a person who is a danger to himself or others. The measure is similar to restraining orders in domestic violence situations.
If anyone in the legislature knows about the need to allow judges to intervene in volatile situations, it’s Morey. During 18 years as a judge on the Durham district court bench, she presided over many hearings in which such a protective order might have helped prevent a shooting or a suicide….
The bill, Morey said, would allow the courts ‘to remove guns from the hands of people who are on the verge of violence to others or themselves.’
While prompted by recent school shootings, Morey’s bill would also help stem a far more common form of gun violence, suicide. Rep. Grier Martin, D-Wake, and member of the Army Reserves, spoke briefly in support of the proposal as a way to reduce the high level of suicide among veterans.
‘If you ask the experts that actually do the research on this what some of the factors are that go into the increasing number of suicides, one of them is, in fact, access to lethal means,’ Martin said.
Gun rights advocates are wary that red-flag laws could lead to even broader government power to confiscate guns. But no right is absolute, especially when it presents a deadly threat to others. Morey’s bill includes judicial procedures that protect an individual’s constitutional rights even as its prevents the mentally disturbed from harming others or themselves.
Moore should bring this bill forward. Better yet, he should add his name as a co-sponsor. In doing so, the House Speaker wouldn’t be just rescuing a bill from knee-jerk rejection. He could well be rescuing lives.”
Click here to read the entire editorial.