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MAGA Rep. Matt Gaetz delivered a stinging rebuke to Republican lawmakers who back ‘red flag’ gun laws, labeling them a “traitor to the Constitution.”
The Republican representative from Florida delivered his remarks during a debate on the so-called Protecting Our Kids Act, a package of gun control laws advanced by the House Judiciary Committee Thursday.
A full vote on the measures could come as early as next week.
On the Senate side, The Political Insider’s Becky Noble reported last week that a group of Democrats and three Republican Senators, including Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Pat Toomey (R-PA), “were meeting in the basement of the Capitol to discuss expanded background checks and ‘red flag’ legislation.”
Gaetz issued a strong warning to those considering such measures.
NEWS tonight: Bipartisan discussions on “red flag” laws make progress as Sens. Graham, Blumenthal revise gun control proposal…
4 people familiar w/ the talks say they’re making real progress in crafting revised bill for Murphy-Cornyn group to considerhttps://t.co/m3kkaYX1HD
— Robert Costa (@costareports) May 31, 2022
Gaetz Destroys Republicans Considering Red Flag Gun Laws
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‘Red flag’ laws allow authorities to confiscate firearms from individuals deemed a risk to themselves or others, without having been convicted of a crime, violating the right to due process.
Mehmet Oz – better known as Dr. Oz – who just won his Pennsylvania Republican Senate primary and is backed by former President Donald Trump, expressed his hope in a 2019 interview that ‘red flag’ laws would be implemented and potentially lead to an anonymous call-in system for people to report concerns over others’ social media posts.
Which is insane, of course.
Gaetz, during the debate in the House Judiciary Committee last week, explains what he feels the problem is with Republicans who support ‘red flag’ laws.
“Let the message from this committee hearing to Republican senators be astonishingly clear,” he warned. “If you back red flag laws as some reflexive response to some emotion that you have, you betray your voters.”
“You are a traitor to the Constitution, the Second Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, you do nothing to make mass shootings less likely.”
.@RepMattGaetz‘s Powerful Message To Senate Republicans
“If you back red-flag laws…you betray your voters, you are a traitor to the constitution, the 2A, the 5A, you do nothing to make mass shootings less likely, and you put a target on the back of your constituents.” pic.twitter.com/D8y2MSt6va
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) June 2, 2022
‘Bulls*** Constitutional Rights’
There is significant disagreement among conservatives regarding so-called “red flag” laws. While some, like Gaetz, view them as flatly unconstitutional, others take a more flexible approach.
Amy Swearer, a legal fellow in the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, writes that ‘red flag’ laws could be used to stop mass shootings while not infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
She cautions, however, that there is the potential for abuse of such laws.
“The Constitution also demands that such individuals (those targeted by ‘red flag’ laws) receive meaningful due process protections prior to the restriction of their rights, and great pains should be taken to ensure that individuals cannot be punished for merely holding offensive views or engaging in objectionable, but nonviolent, behaviors,” she writes.
Swearer goes on to explain that the concern isn’t unique to ‘red flag’ laws, but that “all laws … can be misused or misapplied to harass disfavored groups.”
So how do Democrats view the constitutionality of gun control?
Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) raised eyebrows when responding to Gaetz’s comments and accidentally unveiled the anti-gun lobby’s potential for constitutional abuse if they get their way on this matter.
Evoking past mass shootings, Rep. David Cicilline tears into his GOP colleagues during a House session on gun control legislation, citing past Republican administration’s support for ‘red flag’ laws: “Spare me the ******** about Constitutional rights.” https://t.co/IforlnSXKk pic.twitter.com/e0Lh6X3PSD
— ABC News (@ABC) June 3, 2022
“Spare me the bullshit about constitutional rights,” Cicilline angrily fired back at Gaetz.
And therein lies the problem. That is somebody who betrays their constituents and is a ‘traitor to the Constitution.’
Responding emotionally to these horrific shootings is not the proper way for lawmakers to address the problem. The trouble is in crafting laws that would stop somebody with clear mental health issues – like the Uvalde and Sandy Hook shooters – without violating the rights of some person who owns guns but whose neighbor finds that creepy.
Americans still have constitutional rights. We can’t simply rush in and craft sloppy legislation that could potentially take them away.
That would be a betrayal by the government against the people we would never recover from.
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