Broward County Aggressively Enforces New ‘Red Flag’ Gun Law

Brad Slager
SunshineStateNews
(May 2, 2018)

Confiscated guns (from a re-enactment)
Confiscated guns (from a re-enactment)

Broward County is leading the state in enforcement of the new gun restrictions Gov. Rick Scott signed into law in March.

The Red Flag gun law, passed March 5, was written to allow local law enforcement to confiscate weapons from those displaying emotional problems, or posing a direct danger to others. This made Florida one of the select-few states to have such a law.

In the emotional weeks following the loss of 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, many Floridians — in fact, many Americans — called for a strengthening of Florida’s gun laws.

A number of new gun restrictions were suggested and many passed, despite no connection to the mass shooting Feb. 14. A ban on bump stocks, and an extension of the waiting period to buy a gun were also passed, even though those components had no relevance in the Parkland shooting. (Other suggested ideas, such as banning high-capacity magazines, and banning sales to those on the terrorist watch list, also bore no connection to events in Parkland.)

With the Red Flag law now in effect, the Sun-Sentinel looked into how counties across the state were enacting the new legislation. The newspaper found that, while many had begun to use this new tool, Broward county far exceeded all others in the enforcement and seizing of firearms under this law. To date, Broward authorities have taken a confiscation action 34 times. The Orlando area was a distant second, with a total of just five cases.

Given that Parkland is a Broward County city, it makes sense the county would be far more active in the implementation of this new power. Of the 34 cases cited, the Broward Sheriff’s Office led all agencies in the county, having used Red Flag laws 19 times.

This will surely be seen as a reaction to the reports the Broward Sheriff’s Office didn’t take more proactive steps during the numerous visits deputies made to the home of the shooter in the months preceding the tragedy. That inertia of authority is regarded as the motivation to create and pass the “red flag” portion of the bill.

What will remain to be clarified is how much of this law will be retained. There are sure to be some legal challenges regarding enforcement. The red flag legislation is a difficult one to detail, and there is still a struggle to get a comprehensive solution in place. Most agree on the need to have authorities step in when, say, an individual threatens mass violence. The converse challenge is doing so without the right of due process.

As this law passed, it was not met with much resistance from the National Rifle Association. Instead, the NRA has been more focused on legislators raising the age of ownership to 21 years, stating this not only impacts Second Amendment rights, but also the 14th Amendment, under the guarantee of equal protection of the law. The Red Flag challenges are likely to be argued on a case-by-case basis, where an individual may argue he had guns taken without a trial or conviction.

There is a probability of changes and challenges to the law going forward, given the rush placed on passing it two months ago. Many marveled at how quickly after the tragedy legislators acted. But writing a bill in that emotional cloud means there is an increased chance of pragmatic thought being applied incorrectly.

Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.

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4 thoughts on “Broward County Aggressively Enforces New ‘Red Flag’ Gun Law”

  1. [14] For you, brethren, are become followers of the churches of God which are in Judea, in Christ Jesus: for you also have suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they have from the Jews, [15] Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us, and please not God, and are adversaries to all mankind.

    1 Thessalonians 2:14-15

  2. “The power to label is the greatest power.”
    –Whistleblower Dr. Allen(?) who had participated in writing the DSMs.

    Next step for FLA to skirt around the 2A, declare everyone “mental” & too “unstable” to own guns. “Problem solved.”

    Trump gave a speech to the NRA in Texas either yesterday or today. He mentioned the “mental thing” was a big problem & concern, per tweeted “transcript” snips.

    Shame on the NRA for not making a bigger fuss & Rick Scott for signing that law.

    Rick Scott is a weasle & sell-out. He should not be elected as a Senator nor anything else. I saw two separate tweets about him this week:

    __He’ll be the ONLY governor to attend the Jerusalem USA Embassy grand opening this month.

    __He wants Puerto Rico declared the 51st State. (Is he a Dem in disguise?! The last thing we need is another full State of Dem voters.)

    Great Bible verse & reminder by DachsieLady above.

  3. Our Police Chief in Vail, Colorado was just in the newspaper talking about red flag laws. That means Police can take your guns before you commit a crime if you are reported as suicidal or make threats of violence. The Chief sited the need for Red Flag laws using the locally famous case of Rossi Moreau, a troubled Viet Nam Vet who murdered Dr. Gary Kitching from Carbondale at the Sand Bar, and shot a friend of mine – Jim Lindley – four times. Rossi was thrown out of the bar for being combative with other patrons. No sooner had they ushered him outside, Rossi pulled out a military issue 45 and shot Manager Justin wounding him. Then Rossi went back inside and shot Jim critically and murdered the good Doctor. Jim miraculously survived four 45 caliber rounds at close range. It was all on security video played to the court. Rossi was arrested, convicted and given a life sentence. I have no doubt that prescription psych meds played a major role in this crime.

    Rossi’s guns were previously taken away by Police long before the bar shooting. A Judge later ordered the guns returned to Rossi according to our Police Chief. His offense was blasting off some rounds outside his apartment complex as I rememebr the story.

    When I got introduced to Rossi 20 years prior to the shooting, I was given the old “just between you and me” scenario of “he’s a Viet Nam Vet and he’s got problems, so beware”. I only knew Rossi casually as another frequent coffee shop patron.

    I think the RED FLAG LAW is a good idea in principal, but in practice, it will be abused by law enforcement. How much is a the only question in my mind. Take a look at asset forfeiture laws designed to fight organized crime. It sounded good when the politicians sold it, but in practice it’s carte blanche for highway robbery. A Colorado man’s $50,000 casino winnings were confiscated by Humbolt County, Nevada Sheriff’s Deputy. The Cop was clearly heard on dash cam saying the man could leave with his car or his money, but he wasn’t leaving with both. The Deputy also suggested the Colorado Man just forget about appealing the cash confiscation; that it would cost him more than the money taken. Our Colorado boy’s crime? Being lucky enough to strike it rich in Reno. but unlucky enough to be pulled over by for doing 77 in a 75mph zone. The Cop posted a picture of himself posing with the stolen money on Facebook. He was proud of being a thief with a badge. I believe our boy got his cash back and the deputy “resigned”.

    You want to give people like this unrestrained ability to seize firearms anytime they feel like it? The proponents of the law will trumpet the built in safeguards to protect our rights with warm fuzzy phrases like due process. I bet everyone looks forward to proving they aren’t crazy in court. “He Judge I’m not crazy, I just need my eight guns back”. That sounds like a crazy amount of guns untill you hear that was the entire family’s gun collection and they were supposed to go hunting next week.

    What if you just got fired and become irate when they don’t have your last check? Maybe you get a little more angry each day you show up and they don’t pay. Then it looks like they plan on never paying and you become livid for getting swindled. This happened to me at a billion dollar paving company. Maybe with a Red Flag Law, the Police get called and they might need to come get your guns for awhile. I can just here them now… “sir you need to calm down, and by the way do you own any guns?”

    Let’s take a clance at mandatory seat belt laws to see how horribly that’s been abused by law enforcement. When they passed it in Colorado, we were assured Cops couldn’t use it to pull you over. What a lie that turned out to be. I was in a furniture store in nearby Avon, Colorado when the owner became alarmed that Avon Police had pulled over several people in front of her store and their only offense was not wearing seat belts. And here was yet another. She thought it was bad for business and troubled by the ticky tack law enforcement.

    The Steamboat, Colorado Police pulled me over because I didn’t have a front license plate. When I pointed out the conspicuous temporary tag affixed where the rear license plate normally goes, here’s what the Cop said: “By the tinme I noticed the temporary, I was already pulling you over”. I said: “so you couldn’t have just passed me and kept going?”. No answer was offered. The Cop held me there for 20 minutes while he wrote a warning for the seatbelt violation. I was outraged. If it’s not a moving violation, it’s a tinhorn fishing mission.

    If they abuse the selt belt law this badly to go on fishing expeditions, how badly will Red Flag Laws be abused? The Police Chief of Leadville, Colorado was caught selling confiscated guns to Pawn Shops in Denver without a RED FLAG LAW. I can only imagine what he would have done with one. “I might need your guns, you look depressed sir”. Our upstanding law enforcer served 90 days in jail but it was no punishment at all because they let him serve the 90 days concurrently with his driving under the influence conviction.

    Steamboat’s Police Chief was given a golden parachute to disappear under a cloud of corruption, police brutality and uber misogyny toward female officers. Instead of holding the Chief accountable, the Town of Steamboat meticulously combed through the backgrounds of his accusers and trumped up charges in order to discredit their stories. It stunk to high heaven. The Whistle Blower female Cop was exonerated and i don’t jnow what happened to the Detective’s trumped up charge. I guarantee nothing has changed in Steamboat and no one will ever blow the whiistle again.

    The Red Flag Law looks good on paper, rest assured it will be abused. It will be our true life version of the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report’s precrime concept. That pre-emptive law enforcment is justified, so the 2nd amendment can be ignored. Does anyone think there was no nut-jobs with guns when the 2nd amendment became an inalienable right? The Founding Fathers no doubt knew people personally that were mentally unbalanced, prone to violence and owned firemans. Why didn’t they write an exception or limitation to the 2nd amendment? My guess is they considered it but knew it would be abused at any tinhorn Sheriff’s discretion.

    I’m surrounded by corrrupt small town law enforcemnt hell bent on digging into your pockets for any reason they can find or no reason at all like Steamboat. The Detective’s story is shocking and makes a good read.

    Here’s an excerpt from the link below
    https://www.facebook.com/openlettertosteamboatsprings/posts/1585295585062595

    Joel Rae was an extremely vocal opponent of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Immediately after Amendment 64 was passed, Joel called a Department meeting. He entered the meeting and declared that every officer’s previous oath of office was now invalid. He then ordered everyone to stand and had a judge administer a new oath of office declaring obedience to “Federal Law” with the clear message of usurping the will of the Colorado voters and denying individuals their rights as afforded under the State Constitution.

  4. Off-Topic reply re:

    Wow, Dave Kraft, what a very interesting read re Cops in “Little Towns” & Ski Towns in Colorado!

    There’s always been corruption in the world, but like everything else, it now has become so blatant & “in our face.”

    I lived in Colorado in a small ski town in the 1970s (a town not mentioned in your stories), & thought the cops were OK; they drove Saab cars & their “uniforms” were jeans w/cop shirts. Of course I was very young & naive, so maybe they were jerks & I didn’t know it.

    One time they were nice enough to warn me re a guy who had taken a fancy to me. Like an older brother, the one cop said, “xxx, don’t get messed up with that guy. He’s baaaaaaaad news.” I thought that was so nice of him to warn me.

    I think the cops’ biggest job in those days was driving drunks home from the bars, lol.

    The only other “cop encounter” I remember in that same town: Did a temp secretarial job in the Clerk’s Office in the Courthouse (a neat old Victorian building with wooden floors & huge wooden doors that creaked but with thick brick & concrete walls, & with that “old building smell”). When that job was done, the other girls suggested going down to the Sheriff’s Office (& PD) in the basement, so I did, & asked if they needed any help.

    They showed me to some deputy’s office. He was leaning back in his chair, hands clasped behind his head, with his long legs & black-booted-feet resting up on his desk. I sat in another chair & he began asking me questions. After awhile he says, “Well, we don’t have any openings for secretaries, but we could always use another cop/deputy. Why not train to be a cop?” (With visions of lady cops trying to haul in drunks racing through my head), I replied, “Oh, noooooo. I could Never do that type of a job. I’m much too shy for that.” He dryly retorted, “Miss, You’re about as shy as an Atom Bomb.” LOL. I had no idea what he meant at the time, but I do now > “Too Honest,” if there is such a thing.

    Later I worked at the weekly-newspaper there for several years. Any town scoop was ripe for gossip & the grapevine, yet I don’t recall PD or Sheriff Office corruption stories.

    However, one local City or County Attorney got hung out to dry but I forget what for. It actually seemed as if he was railroaded. Maybe he uncovered corruption but they roasted him instead. (I now wonder if Freemasonry was prominent in PDs back then as it reportedly is these days.)

    Times have drastically changed — or Youthful Naivete’ & No Internet kept us blind in older decades.

    ***

    Another “red flag” story at FOTM a few days ago, not about guns but about massive DNA collection: Congress authorized the Fed Govt. NIH $1.45 billion to do a 10-year study re DNA & diseases. They are seeking ONE MILLION VOLUNTEERS to donate their DNA!! half of which MUST be “groups previously under-represented” in research studies:
    https://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2018/05/03/us-government-seeking-1-million-volunteers-for-massive-study-of-dna-health-habits/

    Would you trust Uncle Sam with your DNA? Me neither, not these days. 😉

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