After the current shootings here in Texas and Ohio, once again we see people jumping the gun (no pun intended) to restrict 2nd Amendment Constitutional rights and violations of the due process clause of the 5th and 14th Amendments.

Liberals fail to look at any cause other than the firearm, failing to consider society, environment, home life, movies, video games, mental illness, bullying, drug use and dozens of other possible symptoms. What has changed so much in our society in the last 20 or so years to bring about these events?

We also fail to consider the notion that where there is a will, there is a way. Just a few short years ago we witnessed more than 3,000 murders using three hijacked planes, hundreds killed from a van filled with fertilizer, even a group of marathoners hurt from a lowly pressure cooker not to mention those run down with vehicles. All of these murders including the shootings were, and are, a result of hate or mental illness, diseases of the heart and mind. Not one gun pulled its own trigger, no plane flew itself, no bomb was self created and no vehicle kills without a driver.

In our country, there are roughly 330 million people and 393 million privately owned firearms (non-military, non-law enforcement). That amounts to about 1.2 firearms for every man, woman and child. Some people do not own a firearm while others own large collections. An article by Forbes Magazine reported in an interview with FBI agents that illegal possession of firearms is rarely the result of guns stores or legal firearm sales but rather firearms on the black market and straw purchases by unsuspecting family and friends.

According to government records, there are more than 200,000 firearms lost or stolen each year with more than 19,000 in Texas alone. Most are considered to be stolen rather than lost. FBI agents report that there are so many black market firearms that prices rarely exceed more than $100 over new retail cost.

We have all seen how poorly our decades old “War on Drugs” has worked, thousands of tons smuggled every month with only a small fraction being taken off the streets, how can we expect a war on firearms to be any better. Every mass shooting has had two kinds of firearms, those obtained legally and those obtained illegally. As we attempt to slow the demand for legal, the demand for illegal will increase. That is how it has worked with drugs and how it worked with prohibition.

Other talk by liberals and many legislators is the so called Red Flag Laws. For lovers and believers of our Constitution, this can be a very slippery slope. Some reports indicate that President Trump may favor Red Flag Laws. If anyone should have an understanding of what can happen with overzealous law enforcement, lies of collusion, secret investigations and wire taps from courts all based on lies from agents at the highest level, it is easy to imagine the possibilities.

Under current definition, Red Flag means something that stands out to an individual as a possible danger be it real, imagined or fictional. Spats between family members, friends and neighbors can prove to often be untrue, retaliatory or spiteful.

Red Flag Laws could easily become violations of the due process portions of the 5th and 14th Amendments violating safeguards against denial of life, liberty and/or property. An accusation could easily result in a “guilty until proven innocent” situation.

Imagine, if you will, a simple confrontation between neighbors or family members, maybe a difference of opinion between two people becoming so angered that they contact authorities with accusations that may or may not be true. Some government agent — be it local police, child protective services, public school teacher or even an employer — swear out a complaint based on assumption.

In the dark hours of night, armed SWAT teams kick down your front door, detain you, terrorize your family, and search and confiscate your legally owned firearms or other items. You are forced to spend time in detention, vast amounts of un-recoverable money spent on the legal system, your good name being questioned and possibly losing your possessions and rights.

Yes this is an imaginary scenario, but in today’s word certainly not beyond possibility. We should think long and hard about new laws that restrict civil rights and if we must pass new laws, we must add protections against false accusations and a means to recover personal property and the cost of self defense.

False accusations should carry criminal and civil penalty. We can not protect one’s civil rights of life, liberty and property by taking away another’s civil rights to life, liberty and property.

Terry Harper is a longtime Guadalupe County resident and lifelong conservative.

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