Only one state’s law mentions mental illness. The individuals who are identifying who they think are dangerous do so on an “I will know it when I see it” standard. In practice, a person’s criminal history, gender and age help decide who is a danger. But we already have laws that say felons, even non-violent ones, can’t own guns.

Even misdemeanor violations can cost you your right to own a gun. Gun control advocates want to take firearms away from people arrested but not convicted of crimes. Their unwillingness to make that explicit indicates that they are afraid that courts would strike down such laws.

It has always been possible to take away someone’s guns, but all 50 states have required testimony by a mental health expert before a judge. Hearings could be conducted very quickly in urgent cases, But gun control advocates argue that it’s important to not even alert the person that his guns may be taken away. Hence, the 5 a.m. police raids.

When people really pose a clear danger to themselves or others, they should be confined to a mental health facility. Simply denying them the right to legally buy a gun isn’t a serious remedy. If you think that you are any more likely to stop criminals from getting guns than illegal drugs, good luck. The same drug dealers sell both and are a major source of guns. And there are other weapons such as cars.

Nor are guns the only way for mentally unstable people to commit suicide. There are many substitutes that are as effective. Very effective poisons such as cyanide are easily available.

These laws may damage trust between people. In the absence of a Red Flag law, a person contemplating homicide or suicide might speak to a friend or family member and be dissuaded from that course of action. But now there may be a fear that the authorities will be tipped off and restrict the person’s ability to defend themselves and their family. The result may be that such individuals don’t seek help and go on to kill themselves or others.

Liberals understand this point when it comes to something like AIDS. they know that the threat of quarantining may discourage infected people from seeking medical help. But they seem unaware that the threat of leaving people defenseless might engender similar problems.

Despite the sacrifices, the evidence shows no benefits from these laws. Looking at data from 1970 through 2017, Red Flag laws appear to have had no significant effect on murder, suicide, the number of people killed in mass public shootings, robbery, aggravated assault or burglary. There is some evidence that rape rates rise. These laws apparently do not save lives. . . .

The rest of the piece is available here.