Sen. Stace Nelson

Twenty-six current and former South Dakota Republican legislators sent letters to President Donald Trump, Senator John Thune, Senator Mike Rounds and Representative Dusty Johnson opposing proposed legislation to provide taxpayer funded grants to encourage states to enact “red flag” laws similar to those enacted by 17 states such as California, New York, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon and others.

“Red flag” laws refer to statutes that allow complaints to be made against persons that claim they may be a danger to themselves or others, and which seek to invoke gun seizures of any firearms the accused may own.

Standards for issuing these ex-parte orders are minimal and judges err on the side of caution a reported 95 percent of the time in issuing orders for gun confiscations, often without witnesses testifying, and with accused persons not allowed to defend themselves and unaware of such complaints until law enforcement shows up at their homes.

Accused persons are effectively considered guilty until proven innocent under such procedures and proving oneself innocent and clearing your name under these actions is a very costly and timely struggle.

There has been no evidence that any homicides or suicides have been prevented with these “red flag” laws and opponents point out that any “feel good” hopes out of such laws, pale in comparison to the constitutional rights abuses law-abiding citizens are being subjected to.

Senator Stace Nelson (R-Fulton), a retired federal agent, agrees these mass shooting incidents are horrifying and he agrees that changes need to be made to alleviate the conditions that these murderers use to massacre innocent people, but says “red flag” laws do not work, are counterproductive, threaten the rights of innocent law-abiding citizens, and do not address the core problems contributing to these mass murders.

“It is impossible to predict or prevent someone from committing murder under these laws. If they are in fact intent on mass murder, there is no way to prevent them from using a knife, or a vehicle, or a myriad of other lethal weapons.

Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Senator John Thune (R-SD), both have common-sense pending legislation that actually address the conditions of law-abiding Americans being disarmed by petty bureaucracy and worthless “gun-free zones.” Their legislation builds on the success of states’ “shall issue” conceal carry & “constitutional carry” laws that experts believe have fueled the massive decline in violent and property crimes in the USA since 1993.”

Former Representative Elizabeth May (R-Kyle), a rancher and grocery store owner with deep roots in the Native American community, expressed grave concerns that such subjective laws are reminiscent of laws enacted in the South after the Civil War against blacks and those historically imposed on Native Americans.

“There’s a long history of discrimination when it comes to gun control,” she said. “These ‘red flag’ laws will result in a disproportionate impact and economic burden on the poorest and most vulnerable people of our society who are the least able to defend or recover their rights.”

Legislators believe that the more South Dakotans understand the realities of these “red flag” laws, the more they will understand the real threat to their own rights that such subjective laws present.

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