Red flag laws will not stop mass murders because the individual is the problem, not his firearms

29 Jan 2020 | 10:42

    Editor's note: The following letter is in response to the op-ed "Pennsylvania lawmakers must pass a red flag law in 2020" published in last week's Courier. What do you think? Send your letter to or to The Pike County Courier at 20 West Avenue, Chester NY 10918.

    To the Editor:

    In regards to the latest fad of the left regarding firearms, namely, red flag laws, I should like to point out that, other than the obvious violations of due process and the right to face one's accusers after an actual crime has been committed, not just a thought or speech crime, they simply will not work. Here are a few reasons:

    In 2016, an Islamic extremist killed 86 and wounded 458 when he ran down a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France.

    In 2003 a man entered the Daguo subway in South Korea with two milk jugs filled with gasoline. He killed 192 and wounded 151.

    In 1990, a disgruntled ex boy friend entered the Happy Land Social club in the Bronx with a quart of gasoline. Fifteen minutes later, 87 people were dead.

    In 2003, a man drove his car into a crowd at a farmers market in Santa Monica, killing 10 and wounding another 58.

    In 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nickels built a fertilizer bomb and killed some 168 and wounded 620 at the Murrah Federal building.

    In 1964, in Cologne, Germany, a man with a homemade flamethrower attacked an elementary school, killing 11 and wounding 22. By the way, those are legal in 48 states.

    In Japan, in July of 2016, a lone attacker with a backpack full of knives stabbed 19 people to death and wounded 25 more at a home for disabled people in the city of Sagamihara.

    In short, the individual is the problem, not his firearms. Red flag laws for firearms will not stop mass murders as they simply are not needed carry them out as is evidenced by the aforementioned horrors. There are far more effective means available.

    Which leads to another fly in the ointment: legislative creep. Why would the red flag laws stop with firearms? Wouldn't the seizure of cars, axes, knives, chainsaws and gasoline/kerosene also be needed?

    Then there is the issue of false accusations by disgruntled exes or vindictive neighbors or coworkers. Do we really want to live in a country where one's rights and property are in jeopardy from anonymous denunciations like the old Soviet Union and present-day China?

    If someone is suspected of going off his rails then the system needs to bring them in on solid evidence and testimony and make that case before a judge and jury of his peers, not only to comport with our system of innocence until proven guilty but also to do something that will actually be effective in stopping the commission of the act.

    Paul Papanestor