Empower Wisconsin
All Posts by Empower Wisconsin

Wisconsin doesn’t need a red flag law

Adam Jarchow

Empower Wisconsin | Sept. 26, 2019

By Adam Jarchow

An ambitious politician never lets a good crisis go to waste. That means every event they wish to exploit is indicative of a crisis. And in times of crisis, they reason, it is necessary and appropriate to take away our constitutional rights for the greater good.

This week Wisconsin Gov.Tony Evers joined the call for stricter state gun laws in the wake of mass shootings in Ohio and Texas.

Evers announced his support for a state red flag law that would allow a judge to issue a temporary injunction prohibiting a person from possessing a gun if the court finds “reasonable grounds” that the person is “substantially likely to injure” themselves or others.

Subjective words like reasonable and substantial make me nervous, particularly when it comes to giving prosecutors and judges the power to infringe on my civil rights without notice or due process.

Take the recent John Doe investigations in Wisconsin.

A judge granted partisan prosecutors the authority to secretly seize millions of personal, business and private communications from dozens of politically active individuals and organizations in Wisconsin. Some people ended up on the other end of a secret subpoena simply because they participated in a conference call.
That certainly fits my definition of substantial, but reasonable? Not so much.

Subjects of the John Doe investigation had their free speech, property and privacy rights violated without notice, and without any opportunity to make their case before a judge. Likewise, the proposed red flag law allows law enforcement to confiscate your weapons before you’ve had your day in court.

Under current law, anyone subject to a domestic abuse or child abuse injunction is prohibited from possessing a firearm and must surrender all guns. The firearms can’t be returned until a court determines the injunction has been lifted or expires. In these cases, the subject of the injunction had an opportunity to appear before a judge prior to having their rights restricted.

That’s due process. And without it, all of our rights are subject to the whims of ambitious politicians with a good crisis.

But does Wisconsin have a crisis when it comes to gun possession? Not according to Evers.

“In a state where nearly three of four gun deaths are suicide, having an ERPO (Extreme Risk Protection Order) process could be an important tool in helping us address firearm-related suicides in Wisconsin, and to intervene to get folks in crisis the help and treatment they need.”

Let that sink in for a moment. Three out of every four gun-related deaths in Wisconsin are suicides. That’s a tragedy, but hardly a crisis. Even if it were, removing guns from law-abiding citizens without due process won’t prevent people from taking their own lives.

As a state representative, I watched my colleagues propose legislation to greatly expand the power of government. Bills that granted administrative subpoena power to partisan prosecutors even though judges are available to issue subpoenas 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Bills that turn parents into criminals for failing to prevent any potential danger their child might encounter. Bills that essentially eliminate the presumption of innocence from those accused of a crime.

Like Evers’ red flag bill, these bills substantially impact the rights of Wisconsin citizens, but don’t actually address the problem or alleged crisis at hand. It’s part of the “somebody has to do something” mentality that flourishes in the world of Twitter and cable news.

It’s time to remind our leaders that their job is to protect our most basic rights, not compromise our freedom in response to the latest crisis.

Adam Jarchow serves as president of Empower Wisconsin. The small business owner, attorney and volunteer firefighter is a former Republican state representative in the Legislature, where he was a leader on property rights, home affordability, and hunting rights. He authored the “Homeowners’ Bill of Rights’ — a package of bills aimed at expanding property rights and helping make home ownership more affordable.

Listen to more:

Explore More
Joe Biden’s awful vice presidential pick

Joe Biden’s awful vice presidential pick

Joe Biden will be 78 in November and appears to be slipping significantly mentally — despite CNN’s protestations that he can still ride a bicycle. There is a reason nearly 6 in 10 Americans, according to a new Rasmussen poll, think Biden’s vice president will finish his first term.

Read More »

August 13, 2020
Supreme Court won’t weigh in on health officer’s power trip

Supreme Court won’t weigh in on health officer’s power trip

The Wisconsin Supreme Court this week rejected a petition from parents seeking relief from Milwaukee’s overreaching health officer.  

Read More »

August 13, 2020
The Timeshare VP

The Timeshare VP

California U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris is an interesting pick for VP for so many reasons —  none of them good. 

Read More »

August 13, 2020
Taxpayer bill: $39,000 for State Street murals

Taxpayer bill: $39,000 for State Street murals

Hey, Madison taxpayers. Your bill is in for the “debt of gratitude” your liberal city leaders say you owe to the commissioned artists who painted murals on boarded-up State Street storefronts smashed by “peaceful protesters.” 

Read More »

August 13, 2020
Was Rep. David Bowen party to a crime?

Was Rep. David Bowen party to a crime?

Wauwatosa’s police union president says state Rep. David Bowen’s accounts of Saturday’s “peaceful protest’ targeting embattled Officer Joseph Mensah are fabricated at best. 

Read More »

August 12, 2020
DNR’s iron mask mandate

DNR’s iron mask mandate

Preston Cole, head of the state Department of Natural Resources, recently instructed his staff that they must strictly follow Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate — even if it’s only for keeping up appearances. 

Read More »

August 12, 2020

1 thought on “Wisconsin doesn’t need a red flag law

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *