There has been a lot of discussion lately on Red Flag laws. Most of the conversation surrounding the support or opposition has been around the Constitutional Rights issues, but there’s another problematic implication to these laws that I find concerning as well.
People have rightfully expressed the fear that if these proposed laws go into effect, they can be weaponized against innocent gun owners, targeting them for harassment, doxing, or SWATing.
Think about the ramifications of that. If these laws go through, then the topic of guns will become even more taboo in mixed company than it already is, and have a serious cooling effect on gun culture at large.
If someone can be targeted merely for being a gun owner, how guarded do you think they’ll be with that information? Any attempts to normalize gun ownership or make it more accessible will be suppressed because people don’t want to risk drawing the ire of someone with an axe to grind.
Professor David Yamane has been doing excellent work exploring Gun Culture 2.0 and advancing the idea that “Guns are normal, and normal people own guns”. With as much of a subculture as the gun world already is, think about how much harder it’s going to be to gain new supporters if we’re driven underground and fear having any firearms-related discussions in mixed company, outside the safety of the range, or other 2A friendly settings.
The problems with Red Flag Laws are many and varied, but I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t address the social aspects of it since that’s been my primary focus so far.
When you hear the term “Second Amendment Ambassador” it usually conjures up the image of someone with a rifle slung across their back (or chest) wandering into a fast-casual dining establishment at the local strip mall, carrying their gun at people. The truth is that we are all 2A Ambassadors, and have the ability to make gun culture accessible and welcoming. At least for now.
If we suddenly have to concern ourselves with who is listening and how that information could be leveraged against us (even more than we do now) how eager do you think folks are going to be to share their passion and make themselves vulnerable to strangers?
We need to fight these Red Flag Laws tooth and nail not only to protect our constitutional rights but to ensure the longevity of Gun Culture as a whole.