Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

'Red flag' law won't make us any safer

 

February 5, 2020



Some New Mexico lawmakers are supporting a proposed “red flag” law they hope will protect us from crazy people.

No, thank you.

The idea that government can protect us from anything is crazy enough.

Senate Bill 5 — which is being debated in the Legislature this month — would allow law enforcement to obtain a court order to take guns from people who might be dangerous. It would allow close acquaintances and law enforcement to seek a court order to temporarily take weapons and ammunition from somebody making violent threats.

“It would secure our state and make it much safer by keeping weapons out of the hands of people such as the severe mentally ill and felons, both of which should not have any possession of a firearm,” said Tate Turnbough, chair of the Roosevelt County Democratic Party.

At least that’s the intent of the legislation.

Unfortunately, no law can keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill or felons or anybody else determined to obtain a weapon.

Such laws just give us a false sense of security.

In addition, nobody can see into the future. Using law enforcement resources to combat possible future crime cuts into those resources that should be used to address actual crime.

Finally, aren’t we all potentially dangerous? This looks like a dangerous step down a slippery slope that results in only outlaws having guns.

There are far better solutions to prevent the mentally ill and/or violent people from having opportunity to hurt others.

Let’s start by addressing mental illness — eliminating the social stigma and making treatment available to those who show they are likely to commit violent crimes. Taxpayers are better served treating the mentally ill than locking them up in county jail cells.

And what about longer prison sentences for those who commit violent crimes? It’s great that our court system provides for second, third and fourth chances, but catch and release should be limited to non-violent offenders and crimes without victims. If you hurt somebody, whether you are mentally ill or poverty stricken or drunk or high or just young and dumb, you should go to prison for a long time.

That would eliminate the need for politicians to yap about making us safer. If violent criminals went to jail and stayed there after committing their crimes, we would actually be safer.

— David Stevens, publisher

 
 

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