The enforcement problems with gun-grabbing ‘red flag’ laws are even worse than you think

H/T The Washington Examiner.

Everyone is debating “red flag” laws like they’re some new thing, but California has had variations of them for decades. We call them domestic violence restraining orders, civil harassment restraining orders, workplace restraining orders, elder abuse restraining orders, mental health seizures and prohibition orders, and, more recently, gun violence restraining orders.

They’re all meant to disarm dangerous people — but they’re all fundamentally flawed.

None of these red flag laws would have prevented recent mass shootings. And in my 23 years practicing law in the heart of Silicon Valley, I have litigated dozens of these cases. I’ve seen firsthand the practical enforcement problems that emerge in real-life cases.

These kinds of court orders are usually obtained from a judge ex parte. That’s fancy Latin for: The judge only hears one side of the story, it is not your side, and you may not even know about it until after the fact. Then they immediately strip you of fundamental constitutional rights for the duration of the orders. You’ll get your “full due process” hearing, but not until later.

And any violation of these orders is separately punishable as a crime. So even if you are innocent of the underlying conduct that inspired the “red flag” order, if you violate the order pending your hearing, you can still face criminal charges.

The initial temporary orders are usually “self-executing.” That means you might get served with a court order that tells you to take your guns and surrender them to the police or a local dealer within the next 24 to 48 hours.

You are, of course, expected to comply. But since you cannot legally possess guns upon being served with the order, how are you supposed to transport your guns to surrender them? Perhaps you could just call the police and tell them you were served with a “red flag” order – marking you a “dangerous and volatile” person (even if you’re not) – and ask them to come pick up your guns.

That kind of situation is ripe for danger. In one situation in Baltimore, police ended up shooting a man when they came to collect his guns under a “red flag” law.

Or perhaps you could take your guns to a local gun dealer and ask them to store them for you – that is, if you can find one that’s willing. In my experience, storage will cost you about $200 per month for a couple of guns. And that might be the best deal you can get. Local governments are now charging people thousands of dollars to store guns that are confiscated, and they tack on a charge for inventory and processing fees.

In one case in Southern California, a client had to pay a $1,000 ransom, that was reduced from an initial “offer” of $4,000, to get his 50-gun collection back.

Experienced counsel to defend you in a “due process” hearing will run about $15,000 in fees. If you lose and want to appeal, expect to spend another $25,000 to $100,000 in fees and costs. And even with all of that, you might still lose.

To win these hearings, you have to refute an allegation that you pose a danger to yourself or others where a judge already issued a temporary ex parte order that concluded you were already a danger. Many judges will likely err on the side of caution, and against your rights.

As a practical matter, if the government’s interest is in separating a potentially-dangerous person from guns, it makes no sense to leave other guns that belong to family members in the home. So, if you live with someone that gets a red flag order issued against them, then you and others living in the same home risk losing your guns, too.

Think that’s a fantasy?

Ask Lori Rodriguez, a plaintiff in a case that has been kicking around the California and federal courts for six years. The Ninth Circuit Court recently invented a new exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. The court approved the police seizing Rodriguez’s firearm which was owned, registered, and locked in a gun safe , from her, while the police were at the home seizing firearms from a different family member.

Even if you win, the judge isn’t going to just hand your guns back to you at the end of the hearing. It’s probably a good idea to “lawyer up” just to go through the process of recovering your guns, so you don’t go to jail or prison for accidentally breaking an obscure firearm law or regulation. You wouldn’t want to set off a red flag.

Donald Kilmer is a law professor and practicing attorney who has litigated dozens of restraining order matters, defended against state and federal gun charges, and prosecuted several Second Amendment public interest cases.

Advertisements

Donald Trump May Have Destroyed Red Flag Laws In One Tweet

H/T Bearing Arms.

As much as I oppose Dangerous Red Flag Laws if President Trump passes one I will still vote for him in 2020.

President Trump is making a lot of noises about backing some gun control bills. For pro-gun folks, this is very concerning. Especially since even if he does, he’s still the better option for president come 2020. It puts gun rights advocates in an odd position of potentially having to reward someone for the bad behavior of backing gun control.

However, the president may have also done something that may significantly undermine red flag laws or, at the very least, illustrates our problems with such measures.

In and amongst Tuesday’s insanity was the discussion of a video showing CNN host Chris Cuomo dealing with someone who approached him on the streets. The verbal altercation had the potential to turn violent after Cuomo threatened to throw the other guy down the stairs. The video is all over the place, so you can find it easily enough.

Many people offered their opinions on the matter as it trended on Twitter.

As is his way, President Trump offered up his own thoughts of the video.

Now, Cuomo did lose his cool. He offered a verbal threat in return for what he claimed was a “racial slur,” despite it being no such thing. Yet it’s not enough to rise to the level of being a red flag. Lots of people lose their cool without ever getting violent.

Yet Trump’s suggestion illustrates the problem with red flag laws quite beautifully.

The problem with red flag laws is that they can be invoked far too easily over far too trivial a thing. For example, getting angry over a confrontation in front of your daughter, even if you overreact, shouldn’t lead to someone losing their right to keep and bear arms. Cuomo likely knows that he wasn’t a threat to anyone, yet Trump’s tweet suggests he was. Why would it be any different for anyone else?

For many, this is an example of Trump playing 12-D chess or something, a case of him undermining a piece of legislation with a simple tweet, potentially destroying all support for the measure.

I’m more inclined to think he was just throwing a jab at a media personality he didn’t like and using the topic of the day to do so.

Regardless of why he said it, the ease in which someone can justify a red flag order is concerning. It should be. In theory, with a federal red flag order law in place, police could easily be at Chris Cuomo’s house right now, looking to see if he had any firearms. His family would face armed police rummaging through their home, looking for guns, making them feel like criminals over an altercation that wasn’t a real threat.

I doubt Cuomo would see the irony, especially as his brother has vehemently backed things like red flag laws, but others with more intellectual honesty should.

Red flag laws are nothing more than legalized swatting. They should be worried about it.

Hopefully, those who saw the president’s tweet will realize just how dangerous such laws could be. Whether it was a stroke of genius or simply a byproduct of a president throwing shade at someone he doesn’t like, it was a beautiful tweet that should give all of us a little pause.

If Psychologists Can’t Peg Dangerous People, How Will Red Flag Laws Help?

H/T Bearing Arms.

I want any politician that favors red flag laws to answer this question.

Extreme Risk Protective Orders, otherwise known Red Flag orders, are premised on the idea that someone will see alarming behavior, notify the authorities, and the person’s guns will be taken away so they can’t commit a mass shooting. The idea comes because we examine mass shootings with the benefit of hindsight and look at these killers and think, “How did someone not notice all of this?” I include myself in that. I said as much about the Parkland killer, for example.

However, it’s not that simple. Leaving aside the Second Amendment and due process issues with red flag laws, both of which have been written about here at Bearing Arms extensively, there’s also the fact that red flags just won’t work.

Over at Reason, they pointed out some important points about how red flag laws aren’t going to do what some think they will. The first is perhaps the most important point, though:

Writing in The New York Times, psychiatrist Richard Friedman notes that “experienced psychiatrists fare no better than a roll of the dice at predicting violence.” He therefore thinks it is unrealistic to rely on the mental health system to identify future mass shooters and stop them before they kill anyone, as Donald Trump has suggested. Yet Friedman argues that “more effective policies might involve gun control, including enhancing background checks and expanding so-called extreme risk protection orders, which would allow law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from people deemed potentially violent.”

If experienced psychiatrists aren’t any better at predicting violence from someone, then how in the hell are co-workers or family members going to predict it?

Let’s also remember that while one person working at the municipal building in Virginia Beach was worried about a mass shooting on the day it happened, she believed it was going to be another individual committing the shooting. In other words, a co-worker misidentified the shooter. Had she been carrying, as her husband urged, she could have stopped the shooting that occurred rather than the one she feared. However had she used a red flag law instead, not only would an innocent man be disarmed, but the shooting still would have happened.

Then there are those times when the law is used. What do those look like?

There is no solid evidence that red flag laws, the oldest of which (Connecticut’s) was enacted two decades ago, prevent homicides. But there are anecdotes. The New York Times describes the case of a San Diego car dealership employee who “told his co-workers that he would shoot up the place if he were fired” and who “praised the man who had carried out the Las Vegas massacre.” There was also a man who “told his fiancée he wanted to shoot her in the head” and “threatened to kill her ex-boyfriend.” Another man “told co-workers that he wished his supervisors would die, and that he could invite them hunting so it would look like an accident.”

San Diego’s city attorney, Mara Elliott, obtained gun confiscation orders against all three of those men under California’s red flag law. It is hard to tell from the sketches in the Times article whether the men’s threats (especially that last one) were in earnest, and it is impossible to say whether any of these men would have followed through on them. But it certainly makes sense to be concerned about people who own guns and have threatened to use them. “Of the first 100 restraining orders [Elliott] obtained,” the Times says, “one in seven involved people who had threatened violence at a workplace or a school, and about 10 percent involved people who made threats on social media.”

That accounts for less than a quarter of the orders. What about the rest? Based on the track record of red flag laws in Connecticut and Indiana (the first two states to enact such statutes), I’d guess most or all of them involved people who were deemed suicidal. Were they actually suicidal?

Even the most generous estimates, based on a method that may not be reliable, suggest that 90 to 95 percent of people who lose their Second Amendment rights under red flag laws because they are deemed a threat to themselves would not actually have committed suicide. Whether or not you think those odds are good enough to suspend someone’s constitutional rights for a year or more (and whether or not you think the government should be in the business of stopping people from killing themselves), it is notable that red flag laws are sold as a way to prevent murder but are mainly used to prevent suicide.

In other words, not only are mass shooters not generally disarmed by these laws, but neither are suicidal people.

The problem with red flag laws regarding suicide is that it may dissuade some, particularly veterans, from talking about being depressed. That can actually cause suicide as there is no outside vent for their feelings, which can cause even worse problems. They begin to feel like people would be better off without them since no one knows to tell them otherwise.

The post continues:

When you combine the focus on suicide with the dubious evidence and vague standards for gun confiscation orders, it seems clear that the vast majority of people subject to these orders do not actually pose a threat to others. The other side of the coin is that red flag laws do not necessarily identify people who are in fact bent on violence. Connecticut’s red flag law did not prevent the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, even though the perpetrator was conspicuously troubled and had contact with the mental health system. It is unclear that even last year’s attack at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which prompted the recent spate of red flag laws, would have been prevented by the availability of gun confiscation orders.

Further, Thousand Oaks happened despite California’s strict gun control policies and a red flag law on the books. It also failed to stop the Gilroy shooting as well.

Some of the most recent mass shootings happened in states with red flag laws, after all.

The problem, however, is that proponents of the laws tout the number of times the law is used as proof it works. They don’t care about false positives. After all, those just make them look even better. Who cares about what ruined lives they leave in their wake?

If psychiatrists can’t figure out how people become violent and if those closest to depressed people are unable to predict suicide, then just what the hell are these laws going to accomplish?

 

KNOWLES: Red Flag Laws Are The Wrong Approach

H/T The Daily Wire.

Red Flag Laws are a backdoor way to strip away our Second Amendment Rights.

On Wednesday’s episode of “The Michael Knowles Show,” Knowles discusses why red flag laws are just whistling past the graveyard and are not the proper response to the escalating mental health issue. Video and partial transcript below

What do red flag laws do? They say that if there are red flags in a person’s history, you know their behavior, what they’re writing, they’re getting in trouble at school, they’re posting things on the internet — it’s pretty nebulous — then you can bring that kid before a judge, and the judge can deem him incapable of holding a gun. They can take away his constitutional right to own a gun in certain states. The parents can haul their kids or family members, [they] can haul their crazy uncle before the judge and say he shouldn’t have his constitutional right to own a gun. The judge can say, “OK that’s fine,” and then this is regularly brought back up, and this lack of a constitutional right can be extended, basically in perpetuity. Why is this so bad? I’m not against taking guns away from crazy people. I don’t think crazy people should be able to get guns, and we do have a problem in this country with crazy people getting guns.

But it should be very, very, very difficult to take away someone’s right to have a gun. Why? Because the right to own a gun is not the same as the right to drive a car. Driving a car is a privilege. Owning a gun is your civil right. It is your Second Amendment right; it is right there in the Constitution. So how should we make it such that you can take away guns from crazy people? So, I think we should be able to take guns away from crazy people, but totally believe that red flag laws are not the way to do it. It should not be the same as taking away someone’s right to drive a car. You know, if you get too many speeding tickets, they can take away your driver’s license because you don’t have a civil right to a driver’s license. There is no constitutional right to drive a car, so it’s easier to take away that right. Guns are different. You have a civil right to a gun.

So, if we’re going to take away people’s civil rights, you’ve got to go for it. You got to really go for it. You should basically not be able to take away someone’s right to own a gun, unless you are willing to throw them in a padded room and lock the door. Put them in a straight-jacket, take away their right to vote, take away their right to live on their own, take away their right to work, and be a part of polite society on their own. I’m fine [with that]. I think we should be able to do that. This ties in with the mental health aspect of all of these mass shootings. We don’t have a system in this country anymore to lock up crazy people, who are a danger to themselves and a danger to others. We should have that. It was very well-intentioned when we got rid of the insane asylums. We got rid of them… because of the development of psychiatric drugs, whereby people would take them, and they would stop being crazy, they would get even. They would be able to behave in normal society.

 

Trouble is that once they got out of the asylums, they stopped taking the drugs, they wind up on the street, they wind up a danger to themselves and to others. We went way too far in that direction. Many of the pioneers of closing down the asylums now regret it because we let way too many people out. We need to make it easier in this country to involuntarily commit people. When you involuntarily commit people, you are taking away their civil rights. But this is not an infringement on their liberty because when you are insane, you are not capable of liberty. You need to be sane, in order to access your freedom, otherwise you become a slave to passions and lunacy

What the left wants to do, though, they don’t want to go all that way. They don’t want to follow those ideas to their logical conclusions because they don’t really view guns as a civil right. They don’t really view your Second Amendment rights as a core civil right. They view it as this unfortunate vestigial part of the Constitution, and they want to get rid of it. And so, they’re going to chip away at it slowly and consistently. Don’t let them do that. And conservatives shouldn’t fall for this. Whether it’s the president, whether it’s senators, whether it’s your rank and file conservative.

Fine, you want to “do something,” that’s the quote. “Do something to fix the shootings.” “Do something,” even if it won’t stop the shootings. Do something like pass red flag laws, which did not stop the shootings in the states where those laws were passed. Fine. Don’t stop halfway through. Don’t let them have their cake and eat it too. If you want to take away people’s civil rights, take away their civil rights. But don’t lie to me, and only take away the civil rights that you want to take away.

Download full episode of “The Michael Knowles Show” on iTunes.

Watch “The Michael Knowles Show” on-demand!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police Invade New Jersey Veteran’s Home, Try to Confiscate Guns Without a Warrant

H/T GunPowder Magazine.

This is why Red Flag Laws are wrong and dangerous.

Two boys discussing what to do in a school shooting situation resulted in police invading one of the boy’s homes to confiscate his father’s guns, various sources report.

“[Leonard Cottrell, Jr.], 40, said he was working at Wawa on June 14 when he got a call from his wife around 9:30 p.m. that two police officers from the New Jersey State Police’s Hamilton station were at the doorstep of his Millstone home,” nj.com reported.

“The troopers, who patrol this sprawling Monmouth County township, were there, he said, because his 13-year-old son had made a comment at school about the Millstone Middle School’s security, and the officers wanted to confiscate Cottrell’s firearms as part of an investigation.”

“No one from the state was going to take my firearms without due process,” said Cottrell, who was deployed to Iraq three times.

“[Cottrell] said his wife allowed the officers to enter the home, and with her permission, they searched his son’s room — but they did not find any weapons, he said,” reported nj.com. “The officers, he said, didn’t have a warrant but still wanted to take his guns. Cottrell wouldn’t let them.”

New Jersey State Police said troopers took action as part of “a possible school threat,” but “determined that Mr. Cottrell’s weapons did not need to be seized.”
Cottrell agreed to keep his guns outside of his house until police finished their investigation; his son was forbidden from returning to school.

“It is outrageous and unacceptable that a student’s concern for lax security at his school could result in an attempt to confiscate his parents’ own firearms,” said Scott L. Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs and a member of the NRA board of directors.

“In the Garden State, the usual approach is to confiscate first and ask questions later, and victims of this approach often don’t know their rights,” Bach said. “‎In this case, the victim pushed back and confiscation was avoided — but the circumstances surrounding the incident are outrageous. A student expressing concern over lack of security is not a reason to send police to the student’s home — but it might be a reason to send police to the school to keep students and teachers safe.”

Bach says police use “intimidation tactics to bully citizens into voluntarily surrendering their firearms under the confusion and fear of an unexpected visit from law enforcement.” Gun owners, Bach says, “should always call counsel before consenting to a seizure of firearms.”

“The terrible violation of Second Amendment rights this American hero has had to endure at the hands of law enforcement officers, whose job it is to keep us safe, not take away our ability to defend ourselves, is a disgrace and should serve as a wake-up call for all citizens of what will happen in every house across this country if we do not resolve to stand firm in fighting gun control,” said Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights.

President Trump Demands the Death Penalty For Mass Shooters, White Supremacists Who Commit Hate Crimes

H/T Town Hall.

I agree with President Trump this rabid animal needs to be put down.

The only disagreement I have with him is concerning these Dangerous Red Flag laws.

Speaking from the White House Monday morning with Vice President Mike Pence by his side, President Donald Trump addressed the nation and responded to two mass shootings that took place over the weekend. Dozens of people were killed and severely wounded in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.

“These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack on our nation and a crime against all humanity. We are outraged by this monstrous evil, the cruelty, the malice, bloodshed and the terror. Our hearts are shattered for every family whose parents, children, husbands and wives were ripped from their arms and their lives. America weeps for the fallen. We are a loving nation and our children are entitled to grow up in a just, peaceful and loving society,” Trump said, calling law enforcement who responded to the shootings American heroes. “Together we lock arms to shoulder the grief. We ask God in heaven to ease the anguish of those who suffer and we vow to act with urgent resolve.”

“In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” he continued. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.”

President Trump called for action to solve mass shootings and urged Congress to put partisanship aside to come up with solutions.

“Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside,” Trump said. “Our future is in our control. America will always rise to the challenge….it is not up to mentally ill monsters, it is up to us.”

“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun…I am open and ready to listen and discuss all ideas that will actually work and make a very big difference,” he continued.

President Trump gave a detailed outline of what the White House is doing in the meantime to solve this problem.

“The internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts. We must shine light on the dark recesses of the internet and stop mass murders before they start,” he said, directing Attorney General Bill Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray to fully investigate.

President Trump also urged social media companies to develop tools to detect mass shooters and advocated for a death penalty against mass shooters that is delivered “quickly and decisively.” 

President Trump also sent his condolences to the Mexican government after a number of citizens were killed in El Paso.

The flags at the White House have been lowered to half-staff and will remain there until Thursday in honor of the victims.

You can watch the President’s full remarks below.

The White House

@WhiteHouse

President Trump Delivers Remarks https://www.pscp.tv/w/cBgvxjFxTFFHVnJ5UkFKRUp8MUJSSmp2WlBkQUJKdzb6L9NZIYJuj5mgBq2zSEHafQDNFlg0fZtF3pw8gs5X 

The White House @WhiteHouse

President Trump Delivers Remarks

pscp.tv

3,874 people are talking about this

 

Second Amendment Supporters need to Fight Smarter and Harder

H/T AmmoLand.

Second Amendment supporters need to stand united no matter what happens.

We need to fight these Damned Dangerous Red Flag Laws.

United States – -(AmmoLand.com)- If there is one thing we all understand as Second Amendment supporters, it’s the need to fight – even when we disagree on the methods. But we can’t just fight harder when confronted with threats, we have to fight smarter than we have over the years. This applies across the entire Second Amendment community.

Here’s the nature of the threats: Earlier this month, an advice columnist with a readership of 22 million encouraged a father to prioritize his hatred of guns over his love for his daughter. In two airings (one this past Sunday), a “60 Minutes” hit piece on the AR-15 drew a combined total of almost 17 million viewers (9.85 million in November, just under 7 million this past Sunday).

Or, to put it bluntly, in just this month alone, two ads (that’s what the column and re-airing were) reaching almost 30 million people were run advocating the views of anti-Second Amendment extremists. Those were, essentially, two major in-kind contributions to Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety. That one in November, run the Sunday before Election Day, may have swung the votes of some of the 9.85 million who saw it.

So, we need to adapt to this political terrain and culture – and an honest assessment of where we are, now shows it’s a relatively hostile environment in the national sense, although in a number of places it is arguably more favorable. But nationally, between Silicon Valley censorshipsocial stigmatization of the Second Amendment, and corporate gun control, there are powerful tides trying to take down not just our freedoms, but those who defend them. How powerful? According to Reason.com, of 21 Democratic presidential contenders, only five even grant the possibility of self-defense as a valid reason to own firearms.

Before we go any further, let’s talk numbers. When it comes to elected officials, the ideal would be that all 435 Representatives, all 100 Senators, all 50 governors, the President, Vice President, the nine justices of the Supreme Court, and the hundreds upon hundreds of state legislators are staunch defenders of the Second Amendment. That is not the reality, though.

The situation is much better in the Senate – not only are there about 55 votes (Joe Manchin and Jon Tester vote pro-Second Amendment often than not, but they are not the most reliable on ancillary issues)

As of today, Second Amendment supporters can really only count on 190 votes in the House (based on the vote for HR 8). The situation is much better in the Senate – not only are there about 55 votes (Joe Manchin and Jon Tester vote pro-Second Amendment often than not, but they are not the most reliable on ancillary issues), but the leadership is pro-Second Amendment and will kill anti-Second Amendment bills.

One part of the problem with improving these numbers is that running for office is expensive and time-consuming. Those loyal Ammoland readers who volunteer to defend our rights – whether with a pro-Second Amendment group or on their own – already have a taste of the costs involved in time and money for those running a political campaign. The sacrifices can go beyond time and money these days. Just remember Amy Dickinson’s advice to a father whose daughter bought a pistol. So, we see the pool of willing candidates for those many positions get much, much smaller.

Then there is the question as to whether those folks who support the Second Amendment have the skills to run a successful election campaign in their given district or state-wide, depending on the office they seek. This is to be expected – pro-Second Amendment cases are easier to make in West Virginia than the suburbs of Los Angeles. The major issues touching on the Second Amendment in Baltimore are very different than those in Wyoming.

They also will need the proper support from volunteers, good campaign staff, and enough financial support to run a successful campaign for elected office. Now, all things being equal, the person with the better campaign and a decent pro-Second Amendment position tend to beat the person with a “pure” pro-Second Amendment position but who lacks the campaign skills to win elections. And even the best campaigners can say stupid stuff – and said stupid stuff need not even be about Second Amendment issues – that will kill their chances.

All of a sudden, that pool of Second Amendment candidates shrinks more and more. So, if there are no surprises, after a federal election, Second Amendment supporters are hoping for at least 218 pro-Second Amendment people in the House of Representatives and 60 in the Senate to go with a pro-Second Amendment president.

Why is that number for the Senate 60? Because when all is said and done, a majority is not enough, thanks to the filibuster. Any effort to roll back the current laws will face a filibuster from Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, and a number of other anti-Second Amendment extremists. We could nuke the legislative filibuster, but after seeing how Harry Reid’s decision to nuke the judicial nominations filibuster went – and how the legislative filibuster enabled us to kill a new federal semiauto ban after Sandy Hook – perhaps we should keep that and work to create a cultural and political landscape that gets us 60 pro-Second Amendment Senators.

Also, note the “no surprises” point. As Duane Liptak pointed out, we are at the mercy of events. Well, we’ve had a bunch in the last year and a half. Mass shootings in Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, and Parkland generated momentum for anti-Second Amendment extremists. A mass shooting can generate a large amount of media-driven momentum. Look at what 60 Minutes did the Sunday before the 2018 elections, and how many people it reached – almost 10 million people (versus NRA’s roughly six million).

That made the legislative fight one of damage control. Sometimes, the only win is to limit what the other side gets. That was the case in 1968, that was the case to an extent in 1993 (with the Brady Act), and that is the case with the bump stock ban and “red flag” laws in the current climate today. I wish that wasn’t the case, but that is the reality of the situation, and denial of that reality is going to do us no good.

I have been fighting for the Second Amendment in one form or another since I was arguing gun control in debates during my high school government class. In the quarter-century since those classroom debates, my experience from multiple vantage points indicates that Liptak’s characterization of the people working at NRA at every level is accurate. No honest Second Amendment supporter should ever doubt the commitment of anyone who has worked full-time for NRA to defending our freedoms.

In addition, any honest person reading my articles over the months will note that I have been more than willing to call out the NRA when I feel it needs to make changes – whether it’s hiring translators to spread pro-Second Amendment messages in an era of multi-lingual ballots, increasing and improving outreach in urban areas, improving cultural engagementmaking leadership changes over the failure to foresee and prepare for new threats, and on the need to address the full-spectrum fight over our Second Amendment rights.

But at the same time, I won’t hesitate to point out the need for strategic and tactical competence and a realistic look at the current political and cultural climate, which may warrant making incremental improvements instead of an “all or nothing” approach. I will point out the need to work to reshape the landscape, and to have plans for the times there are anti-Second Amendment elected officials. I also will say when I think some Second Amendment supporters are only helping Bloomberg, albeit unintentionally, rather than effectively defending our freedoms.

Look, the stakes in 2020 are very high. All Second Amendment supporters need to pull together, stop sniping at each other, and start going after those who would take our rights away. Fighting harder against each other is not the smart fight. Unless, of course, you think Andrew Cuomo’s abuses will stop once he’s debanked and killed the NRA.