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Broward Leads All Counties In Enforcement of 'Red Flag' Gun Law

May 2, 2018 - 2:00pm
Confiscated guns (from a re-enactment)
Confiscated guns (from a re-enactment)

Broward County is leading the state in enforcement of the new gun restrictions Gov. Rick Scott signed into law in March. 

The Red Flag gun law, passed March 5, was written to allow local law enforcement to confiscate weapons from those displaying emotional problems, or posing a direct danger to others. This made Florida one of the select-few states to have such a law.

In the emotional weeks following the loss of 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, many Floridians -- in fact, many Americans -- called for a strengthening of Florida's gun laws. 

A number of new gun restrictions were suggested and many passed, despite no connection to the mass shooting Feb. 14. A ban on bump stocks, and an extension of the waiting period to buy a gun were also passed, even though those components had no relevance in the Parkland shooting. (Other suggested ideas, such as banning high-capacity magazines, and banning sales to those on the terrorist watch list, also bore no connection to events in Parkland.)

With the Red Flag law now in effect, the Sun-Sentinel looked into how counties across the state were enacting the new legislation. The newspaper found that, while many had begun to use this new tool, Broward county far exceeded all others in the enforcement and seizing of firearms under this law. To date, Broward authorities have taken a confiscation action 34 times. The Orlando area was a distant second, with a total of just five cases.

Given that Parkland is a Broward County city, it makes sense the county would be far more active in the implementation of this new power. Of the 34 cases cited, the Broward Sheriff’s Office led all agencies in the county, having used Red Flag laws 19 times. 

This will surely be seen as a reaction to the reports the Broward Sheriff's Office didn't take more proactive steps during the numerous visits deputies made to the home of the shooter in the months preceding the tragedy. That inertia of authority is regarded as the motivation to create and pass the "red flag" portion of the bill.

What will remain to be clarified is how much of this law will be retained. There are sure to be some legal challenges regarding enforcement. The red flag legislation is a difficult one to detail, and there is still a struggle to get a comprehensive solution in place. Most agree on the need to have authorities step in when, say, an individual threatens mass violence. The converse challenge is doing so without the right of due process.

As this law passed, it was not met with much resistance from the National Rifle Association. Instead, the NRA has been more focused on legislators raising the age of ownership to 21 years, stating this not only impacts Second Amendment rights, but also the 14th Amendment, under the guarantee of equal protection of the law. The Red Flag challenges are likely to be argued on a case-by-case basis, where an individual may argue he had guns taken without a trial or conviction. 

There is a probability of changes and challenges to the law going forward, given the rush placed on passing it two months ago. Many marveled at how quickly after the tragedy legislators acted. But writing a bill in that emotional cloud means there is an increased chance of pragmatic thought being applied incorrectly.

Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.


I hope the Sheriff and the Red Flag law both find their Waterloo in Broward County.

The ex parte denial of a fundamental right is facially unconstitutional; it violates the "due process" clause of the 5th Amendment.

42 USC 1983, 1985, 1986, Knowing, or should have known, Violation of Rights Under Color of Law Use 14th Amendment and the Oath or Affirmation Clause (Art. VI, CL 3) to "pierce" the customary "qualified immunity" of any "sworn officer" violating your rights. You have one year to file your claim or counter-claim in federal court. Also, pursue Federal FELONY CRIMINAL complaints against them pursuant to 18 USC 241 and 242. This felony crime is punishable by death under certain circumstances! "... our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." "... against all enemies, foreign and domestic, ..."

Rubio and his allies have already passed the STOP School Violence Act and the NICS Denial Notification Act and the most recent “Red Flag” bill. Fix NICS Bill Would Help Block Gun Sales to Peaceful People.. (UNconstitutional) The broader problem with Fix NICS is that it aims to improve a system that blocks gun sales to people based on criteria that are unfairly and irrationally broad. Those people include millions of Americans who have never shown any violent tendencies. Fix NICS, which Donald Trump supports and the House approved in December as part of a bill that also would make each state's concealed-carry permits valid throughout the country, has 76 cosponsors in the Senate, including 32 Republicans. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who has due-process objections to the bill, is not one of them. Lee argues that the Department of Veterans Affairs wrongly identifies veterans as "mental defectives," which disqualifies them from gun ownership, when they need help managing their benefits. In a March 18 Townhall essay co-authored by Mark Geist, Lee says about 168,000 veterans have lost their Second Amendment rights as a result of that policy. "Our veterans should not have to worry that their civil rights will be violated if they seek help from the very federal agency that was designed to help them," Lee and Geist write. Lee favors an amendment "requiring a judge to determine that a person is a danger to [himself] or others, or meets similar criteria, before being labeled a 'mental defective.'" Any record of court-mandated psychiatric treatment, even if the involuntary patient never posed a threat to anyone else; unlawful use of controlled substances, including taking medication prescribed for a relative and smoking pot in states where it's legal; and living in the United States without the government's permission, which (contrary to what the president seems to think) is by no means an indicator of violent intent. To the extent that "better" background checks prevent peaceful people from buying firearms, they do not qualify as an improvement.

Law will be overturned at first challenge, stupid rush to do something.

Considering the Broward county is essentially all democrat, what's that say?

Who determines emotional?

Florida,.. and Scott, will suffer for this 2nd Amendment 'attack'... This is NOT "NY & NJ SOUTH" (even tho THEY might think it is...)!

Yes. Kneejerk jerks. Emotional flowers. Idiots.

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