Red Flags Fly Over Head in Tianeman Square, China / Victoria Reay via ( Flickr

In theory, Red Flag laws are supposed to stop mass shootings and suicides, but in practice, they seem to fail every time.

Red Flag laws are designed to allow law enforcement to temporarily confiscate firearms from someone if they suspect the individual will go on to harm themselves or others with those firearms. These laws violate several amendments but advocates claim that they don’t because of the community caretaking exception.

Recently we saw these laws fail again, in Maine and a 57-year-old man shot a family member before he turned the gun on himself and ended his own life. If Red Flag laws worked this tragedy would have been prevented, a family member of the 57-year-old called the police prior to the incident to see if there was any way they could take his firearms. The family member made this call after the 57-year-old made repeated threats to take his own life.

This is the exact situation that these laws were designed to handle, but they failed to save anyone.

Police clearly failed to act on someone who posed a serious threat, but who is to say that they won’t do the opposite? Police may instead be overzealous and take guns from people who pose zero threat to themselves or society. Considering the number of anti-gun prosecutors and judges this is a very real concern.

Many look at Red Flag laws as a gross violation of both the 4th and 2nd Amendments, individuals are having their firearms taken away and privacy violated with no due process. Gun Control activists claim that this is a fair trade-off for the safety and security that will come with these laws, however as this case shows these laws are not working and the civil liberties of normal people are being threatened for seemingly no reason at all.

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