County Commission Candidate District 4 and Former Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar has endorsed Gun Control with his open praise of Red Flag Laws.
At the TC Palm Indian River County Commission Candidate Forum, Loar said about Red Flag Laws:
“I will stand by the Red Flag Laws forever to protect not only Floridians but the State of Florida, but also Indian River County residents.”
Loar literally said he will “stand-by Red Flag Laws Forever.”
His opponent Joann Binford disavowed Red Flag Laws at the same forum, saying they violate 7 U.S. Constitutional Amendments. She expressed concern about how this could contribute to further eroding our Constitutional Rights and cause Americans to no longer have our Constitutional Republic.
Another candidate running that race, Thomas Lowther, also endorsed Red Flag Laws at a separate forum in March of 2022. Lowther said he agreed with Loar’s answer at the time, which was in favor of Red Flag Laws.
Lowther was a County Commissioner in the mid-2000s and is a current member of Indian River County Mosquito Control Board.
Many citizens across the United States and in Indian River County have expressed concerns about Red Flag Laws being wrongly used to take away guns from law abiding citizens. Some have also said that they are Unconstitutional for various reasons, such as violating the Due Process clauses in the Constitution.
Local Pro 2nd Amendment Patriot Advocate Bill Griffin told Indian River News “Red flag laws have no due process, they are unconstitutional.”
Bill’s sentiments are that of many across the United States.
Red Flag Laws in Florida don’t allow for the appointment of legal council in the event of a court hearing related to someone being petitioned for a Risk Protection Order.
When someone gets flagged for a Risk Protection Hearing under the Red Flag Laws, there are two types of hearings. One happens within 14 days of a law enforcement officer petitioning the local court while, the other happens as soon as possible. Both situations there is NO court appointed legal council in the event the person being petitioned against, cannot get a lawyer.
That is a big problem since in most, if not all court situations, defendants recommend to have legal council. In some cases, defendants are required to have a lawyer representing them in court.
It’s also important to note that firearms are NOT taken before the hearing in the State of Florida. They are only taken AFTER the hearing, IF a judge determines that the person being petitioned against, meets the criteria to have their firearms removed.
This still should not excuse the potential for abuse of the Red Flag Laws and the concerns citizens have over them, specifically when it comes to Due Process under the law. Due Process is protected for Floridians under the 5th and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution, along with Article I Section 9 of the Florida State Constitution.
There have also been concerns over whether or not others besides law enforcement should be able to petition a court to take a person’s firearms. Many States that have Red Flag Laws allow family members and even community members to petition to have someone’s firearms taken. The problem is, there is concern that this could be abuse to spite another person. Critics have pointed to the possibility of evidence not being strong enough as a point of concern.
In June 2022, many Democrat State Senators and State Representatives attempted to call a special session, per FL Statute 11.011(2) to change some of the gun laws here in Florida. They were unable to get the amount of votes needed to call a Special Legislative Session in Tallahassee to address gun violence. Their way of addressing gun violence would have been more Gun Control.
The proposed Special Session would have had a high capacity gun magazine ban on the table as well.
Gun Owners of America State Director Luis Valdes said regarding Red Flag Laws:
As a former 15 year veteran law enforcement officer in Florida, I have personally seen the failures of the Red Flag system and how in no way, they would prevent violent crime. The failures are that taking the firearms away from an individual that is a danger to the public, does not remove the actual threat from the public, as that individual is still loose on the streets. Florida already has a law in place called the Baker Act, which is far more useful than Red Flag Laws. As we saw with Parkland especially, no matter how many laws are on the books, if law enforcement fails to act properly as we saw with the perpetrator of that tragedy, since there was over 30 points of contact with law enforcement where he could have been arrested and detained, gun control in no way will stop violent acts.
Valdes also said about the Florida Democrats’ failed attempt to call a Special Session:
Anti gun law makers attempting to further restrict the rights of Floridians, is a dereliction of their duty. They swore to uphold and defend Floridians rights, including the right to keep and bare arms. Calling for a special session to infringe upon those rights, is then publicly admitting, that gun control is an absolute failure, but they refuse to accept responsibility for those failures.
Pew wrote a great article in September of 2019 about the debate over if Red Flag Laws actually protect Due Process or not. Those interested can click here to read the article.
We have endorsed Joann Binford since she has been willing to take a stand for the U.S. Constitutiona as an elected official, specifically standing against Red Flag Laws and her willingness to look out for Indian River County Constituents. Vote Joann Binford during early voting or on August 23rd.
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