Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is not on board with the bipartisan gun bill that has been negotiated in the Senate, saying that there are “constitutional deficiencies in many red flag laws.”
The Senate voted Thursday to cut off debate on the bill, dubbed the Safer Communities Act, meaning it will go to full vote as soon as this evening. It would then go to the House.
Paul writes in a tweet thread he isn’t unaware of the gun violence issue:
No one wants to see guns in the hands of criminals, and no one wants to see tragedies like we saw recently in Texas. I’m both a law-abiding gun owner, and a parent, and I want our schools and kids safe.
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 22, 2022
His problem is with so-called red flag laws, which ostensibly are meant to get guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Critics, however, point to the fact that these laws are easily abused and can result in lawful citizens having their firearms taken away. The Dallas News explains:
The laws are intended to get guns out of the hands of individuals when officials find “red flags” indicating they could be a threat to themselves or others, but many gun rights groups and their allies on Capitol Hill have blasted them as easily abused pathways for gun confiscation.
Paul points out the complications, saying, “I cannot support legislation that funds or encourages gun confiscation predicated on anonymous accusations.” He promises to propose amendments to fix the issues he sees.
He also complains that the bill has been hastily assembled, and like so much recent legislation, hasn’t even been read by the very Senators who are now expected to vote on it.
Unfortunately, this legislation was assembled as many are – in secret, absent well placed leaks to journalists. There doesn’t’ appear to be a willingness or time provided to read, understand, debate or amend this bill.
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 22, 2022
RedState’s Brandon Morse reports that the act could pass in the next day or two–and that it’s a betrayal by Republicans:
The “Safer Communities Act,” which Democrats and 14 Republicans are calling a “common sense” advancement to keep our community safe from guns is really just the beginning of the Democrat’s plans to circumvent the 2nd Amendment and intrude on the people’s ability to own firearms.
Wall Street Journal columnist Robert Leider, an assistant professor at Antonin Scalia Law School, is also no fan of the act:
On Tuesday senators introduced the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act—their effort to do something. But when your sole rallying cry is to do something, the thing you do may be worse than the status quo. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a terrible bill, and in its current form, it ought to be defeated by a bipartisan political coalition of Congress…
…it is not a good bill, and it deserves further deliberation and refinement. The Senate’s job is to help draft good laws by cooling the passions of the moment. Right now, it is failing.
He explains that the red flag laws are problematic because “Congress has yet again handed off its responsibility for defining crimes to unelected bureaucrats and judges.”
The bill will certainly face pushback from Republicans in the House. GOP Whip Steve Scalise will whip the vote against the bill and wrote in a memo to Republican lawmakers:
…the bill’s vague language contains insufficient guardrails to ensure that the money is actually going towards keeping guns out of the hands of criminals or preventing mass violence.
Guns are the topic of the day, as the Supreme Court just overturned a New York concealed carry law that gave bureaucrats the ability to deny individuals a concealed carry permit. While lawmakers face intense pressure to “do something” after the horrors of Uvalde and Buffalo, this bill is fraught with problems and will do little to stop such tragedies.
I can’t see an amendment that even the erudite Rand Paul could come up with to fix this disaster. Better to scrap it altogether, and start enforcing laws already on the books.