I've said repeatedly that I'm not opposed to gun control, I'm opposed to stupid and useless gun control:
As a public service, here are two simple rules you can use to figure out whether a gun control proposal is stupid and useless:Everyone - including the GOP in general and President Trump in particular - are proposing "Red Flag" laws to prevent the purchase of guns by the mentally ill. Since so many people are talking about this, does it pass the "stupid and useless" test?
Rule #1. Can the person proposing the law state what they think the law will accomplish? Most of the time it seems that they can't. For example, what good would banning bump stocks do? They were (maybe) used in one crime in the Republic's history. Is the goal really to prevent something that has only happened once? Really?
Rule #2. Can the person proposing the law state how likely the law is to accomplish the goal from Rule #1? Considering that you can make a bump stock from a string and a key ring, is it rational to ban bump stocks?
It seems like it passes the first test, in that people are articulating (admittedly vaguely) that these are intended to keep guns out of the hands of nutcases. It's pretty hard to argue against this, at least in theory. And so we proceed to the second test - does it seem that the hypothetical laws will actually work?
And this is where it goes down in flames. The Parkland shooter was known to be a nutcase, having been reported to the local police some four dozen times (and twice to the FBI). Nobody took action, because the local (and likely national) government agencies thought that doing so would screw up the crime statistical goals that they were trying to achieve. While it's very early after the event, it appears that lots of people knew that the Dayton shooter was a nutcase. Nobody did anything. The Air Force dishonorably discharged a guy because he was, well, a nutcase - but forgot to update the NCIC database with this information. The nutcase was able to buy a gun and kill a bunch of people in a church.
These are just the examples that come to mind; presumably a thorough analysis my the media or by social scientists would turn up many more examples. Of course, the media and social scientists don't want to look into this because it would hurt their push for more gun control.
And so we see that "Red Flag" laws are stupid, because we know that the Organs Of The State that will be entrusted to enforce these are incompetent or ideologically corrupt, or both:
No doubt the response to this will be whining that "we have to do something!" Really? Should we do something stupid and useless? That doesn't sound right at all.
And it's worse than this. These laws will open the floodgates to all sorts of mischief:
There is nuance to be had here, for sure, but realize that it is an abrogation of due process to invert the order of “innocent until proven guilty” to “somewhat guilty until proven innocent.” The question isn’t whether these laws do this, the question is whether you feel comfortable giving up a cornerstone of our republic for a safety dependent upon enforcement by a government that has failed at this before.How do you craft a law that cannot be used maliciously - say, by a disgruntled ex-spouse, by a political opponent, by violent organizations like Antifa? Perhaps it's because I've worked so long in the field of Internet Security, but there's a world of difference in thinking how something should work in terms of desired functionality and how something can be made to work in unexpected ways. The unwritten First Law of Internet Security seems to apply in spades here: sometimes it's easier not to do something stupid than it is to do something smart.
The opportunity for mischief here is a huge red flag (so to speak) and once the precedent of "guilty until proven innocent" is established as settled law in one field it's hard to see how it would not soon spread to laws that have nothing to do with firearms.
So "Red Flag" gun control laws are stupid. They're also dangerous - and dangerous in unpredictable ways. Republicans are playing with fire on this; they've been telling everyone that Democrats want to take away their guns with stupid gun laws, and yet they seem to be lining up behind a stupid gun law that will be abused to take away people's guns.
UPDATE 8 August 2019 13:49: Not even 24 hours later and we see lefties planning to abuse these laws.