Should Judges Be Allowed to Take Guns from Law Abiding Texans?

posted by 1200 WOAI - 

The thorny topic of gun regulation roars back to life in Austin, today, as a state legislative committee tackles the idea of so-called Red Flag laws, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

The laws, which are in place in other states, give families, lawyers or police the ability to go to a judge and ask for the removal of someone's firearms over worries they may commit violence.  

It's not a permanent ban.  Those guns would be seized for a period of time.

Ed Scruggs with the group Texas Gun Sense says Red Flag laws have potential to stop another mass shooting.

"Depending on how the law is written, this gives law enforcement and family members an additional tool to prevent tragedy."

He's testifying, today, before the Texas Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools & School Security.  

It's an issue that's been brought up before several other committees in the wake of the Santa Fe School shooting that ended with ten people dead and 13 other injured.

The biggest concern, so far, has been over due process.  Scruggs says that's an important part.

"In other states, no action is taken against a person showing signs of violence with a hearing before a judge," he explains.  "In every one of those cases, the person affected by the ruling has the right for a hearing in order to get their guns back, so there is due process, and it's not unlike what we have in domestic abuse cases."

And that's where gun rights groups show there are already laws on the books to keep guns out of the hands of people who may commit violence.

Alice Tripp, legislative director of the Texas State Rifle Association, says in every type of protective order, there is a tool for police to pick up firearms.

"There is no tool in law missing that would, in any way, impact public safety."

One of her major concerns is that, to get a hearing before a judge, there would only need to be concern about violence, not a diagnosis from a doctor, creating a "he said she said" type of debate that puts normal guns owners at risk of losing their Second Amendment rights.

Today's hearing, like others on school safety, are merely for gathering information.  No bills are passed during the interim session.

Tripp says those who want a Red Flag law are merely playing politics."If somebody wants to create something and pass something, it would be for political reasons, not because something is missing that impacts public safety."

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