House Democrats this week came out in support of taking guns away from some Americans, but opposed using so-called red flag laws to take guns away from gangs.
The Democrat-majority House Judiciary Committee approved allowing the federal government to intervene in some cases to take guns away from someone considered an extreme risk, but Democrats rejected a GOP-proposal that would red-flag gang members, the Washington Examiner reported.
Red flags laws allow individuals, usually family members, to petition a court and urge that someone considered a risk to himself or others have his guns taken away.
“The majority of violent crime, including gun violence, in the United States is linked to gangs,” Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado said. “My amendment is quite simple. It would allow the issuance of a red flag order against anyone whose name appears in a gang database if there was probable cause to include that individual in the database.”
Buck said America’s gun control efforts should target known criminals first.
“We need to get guns out of the hands of violent criminals. That starts with [giving] law enforcement another tool to disarm gang members. We should target red flags against known criminals, especially gang members. This approach will have the most meaningful impact in reducing gun violence,” Buck said, according to KCNC.
Democrats claimed that lists of gang members can be inaccurate.
“You know, California had these databases, and they finally stopped when they discovered that they had 3-year-olds on the databases as gang members,” Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California said. “I mean, so some of these are reliable, a lot of them are not.”
Other Democrats claimed law enforcement might go so far as to claim that someone who doodled “13” on a piece of paper was part of the MS-13 gang.
“Maybe you are just doodling because it is the 13th of June,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler.
Buck said police use high standards to identify gang members.
“This is a situation where the police officers are trained, and there are very identifiable signs, and it isn’t just one sign,” Buck said.
Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California proposed that Buck’s amendment specifically include “individuals affiliated with white nationalism.”
Buck offered to target “any type of supremacy” and said the list should be wide-ranging.
“Let’s add Cosa Nostra to this,” Buck said.
The amendment ultimately failed 11-21.
“This is the House Judiciary Committee, for goodness sake. What other constitutional rights can you lose without doing anything wrong and without your knowledge and then have to go petition a court to get it back? Tell me what that is. Tell me when that happens!” he said, adding that the bill was “so wrong on so many levels.”
“It violates fundamental Second Amendment rights, it violates property rights, it violates due process rights, and yet today, the House Judiciary Committee, with the storied history this committee has in defending — defending — the Bill of Rights is going to pass this legislation?” he said.