State Sen. Steve Dickerson’s Promise To Introduce ‘Red Flag’ Bill Getting Criticism From Local And National Gun Rights Advocacy Groups

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State Senator Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) has gotten the attention of local and national gun rights activist groups for promising to introduce a “red flag” bill in the upcoming legislative session.

So-called red flag laws permit a judge to issue an order to seize firearms from a lawful owner based upon a petition from police or family members citing something as feeble as statements made by the gun owner in question, hence the name “red flag.”

Dickerson, in an op-ed to The Tennessean, alludes to bills signed into law by Republican governors since the Parkland shooting, saying, “This is exactly the type of bipartisan, common-sense gun violence prevention policy we need in Tennessee.” That’s why, Dickerson says, “I will introduce a red flag bill when the Tennessee General Assembly reconvenes next session.”

Tennessee Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris, in an email to the organization’s members, has raised the question as to whether Constitutional rights should be subject to the low threshold infringements of red flag laws.  Ammoland Shooting Sports News picked up Harris’ commentary and published it in its entirety.

Harris says that red flag laws “may just be the newest euphemism for reasonable gun control.” Indeed, in his commentary, Senator Dickerson refers to his upcoming legislation as “common sense,” the very definition of reasonable.

As Harris points out, red flags could arise for as little as a neighbor, family member or teacher thinking that a citizen lawfully owning guns “might” be dangerous and then petitioning the court to intervene with an order to take away the individual’s guns.

These red flag laws are in addition to other 2nd Amendment rights restrictions such as background checks, prior criminal convictions and dishonorable discharges from the military.

Correspondent Kerry Picket for the National Rifle Association’s NRATV reported on Dickerson’s op-ed, and rightfully points out that since no bill has been filed yet, it’s a wait and see as to whether Dickerson’s proposed legislation will contain the “robust due process protections to ensure a person’s access to guns is limited only when a court finds there is clear and convincing evidence these individuals present a risk to themselves or others” he promises.

On yet another front, YouTube channel, Guns & Gadgets, reported on “Tennessee Republican to Introduce Red Flag Bill” talking about the lack of due process. Senator Dickerson’s contact information was provided below the video with encouragement for Tennesseans to express their viewpoint or to pass it along to anyone with influence in Tennessee. The video has already received over 14,000 views.

Maryland’s red flag law, officially known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders, after going into effect on October 1 claimed its first victim on November 5, 2018. Sixty-one year old Cary J. Willis was shot and killed by police serving a court order to confiscate his guns as a result of his sister requesting the protective order.

Dumbfounded that the police “didn’t need to do what they did,” the victim’s niece said her of her uncle “he wouldn’t hurt anybody,” and described him as “harmless.”

Gun Owners of America (GOA), a non-profit organization founded in 1975 to defend 2nd Amendment rights, warned back in July that gun owners must stand up and fight back against the new wave of dangerous laws being pushed across the United States. The organization says that laws removing rights from people for crimes they haven’t committed with no ability to defend themselves before their rights are removed would be more properly termed “Gun Confiscation Orders.”

TFA’s Harris cautions that, “The concept of ‘reasonable’ gun control is a dangerous argument advanced to trick conservatives into believing that its okay to impair and infringe the constitutional rights of an individual, if doing so can be rationalized as something a ‘reasonable’ person would do.”  Harris continues,

Of course, constitutional rights are not based on what some in society think is ‘reasonable.’  To the contrary, such rights pre-exist and take precedence over the constitution.  They are thus recognized by the constitution and are protected by it at a very high level.

If Tennessee were to pass a red flag bill, it would join 13 other mainly Democrat-controlled states of Connecticut, Indiana, California, Washington, Oregon, Florida, Vermont, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

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Background Photo “Tennessee Capital” by Ichabod. CC BY-SA 3.0.
Photo “Steve Dickerson” by Steve Dickerson. 

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9 Thoughts to “State Sen. Steve Dickerson’s Promise To Introduce ‘Red Flag’ Bill Getting Criticism From Local And National Gun Rights Advocacy Groups”

  1. Cynthia Sanders

    Steve Dickerson is NOT a Republican.
    He is a Libertarian.
    BIG DIFFERENCE!

    1. Ron W

      Typically Libertarians support ALL of the Bill of Rights and ALL of the Tennessee Constitution’s Declaration of Rights, so such a law which opens the door to the extreme prejudice, bigotry and hate to trample those rights against gunowners would certainly not be pro Liberty or “libertarian”. It seems Sen. Dickerson is deferring to the leftist authoritarianism favored by most Democrats who have long since abandoned classical liberalism.

      By the way, Article I, Section 26 which DECLARES the right of Tennessee citizens to keep and bear (carry) arms for their self defense only gives the Legislature the power to “regulate the WEARING of arms with a view to prevent crime”, that is, how one carries the self defense weapons of their choice. The government, State and Federal, must obey the Law or else we’re ruled over arbitrarily by criminals.

  2. Mark Skoda

    Unbelievable. Time to recall this “Republican” and remove him from office. He is clearly anti-2nd Amendment and gun rights.

    1. Nancy Stitt

      I tried calling his office number posted on Google. Voicemail only. This fool needs to be stopped right now. If anyone has email address, or even a physical address in addition to the 1-615-741-6679 number; please post on Facebook. Thank you.
      Nancy Stitt 🇺🇸

  3. Tim

    They want to turn legal and responsible gun owners into outlaws.

  4. Habu

    And so it starts here in Tennessee. I am a strong believer in “common sense” laws but keep in mind, one persons common sense is another persons crazy idea. Something like “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. This bill needs to be strongly defeated before it even gets started.
    Perhaps a “recall” should be in Mr. Dickerson’s future if he continues to champion his “red flag” bill.

  5. Kevin

    So imagine this, it’s 5:00 AM in the morning, you are sound asleep on the coach, after watching the Titans blow out the Jaguars. All of a sudden, your front door comes smashing in and in rushes a guy dressed in black. As you reach for your LEGALLY owned handgun, in the supposed safety of YOUR home, you have a split decision to make.

    Is this a home invasion or is it your friendly local (armed) Government agency (pick one of the many)? You know the one, the one that you support every time there is a fund-raising event sponsored by them.

    Well, you believe that it can’t be the Government, you have the 4th Amendment protecting you, right? You know the one that protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures. So you raise your weapon in defense of your children, your wife and yourself. Instantly, the other four men in black riddle your soon to be lifeless body with bullets. All because somebody thinks that that you might be a threat to somebody or some thing.

    And now you understand, well, your fatherless, husbandless family members understand the real reason for the 2nd Amendment.

    Now I do suspect that this law will not make it through the process, but, I’m looking forward to hearing how the Republican Party of Tennessee spins the fact that a Republican State Senator is proposing this kind of legislation! Kind of reminds me of how a Republican State Senator was the champion of granting in-State tuition to ILLEGAL aliens.

  6. Allen Barrett

    That would be a fine idea IF you apply the same reasoning to other articles such as the 1st Amendmentment. I believe that it is “common sense” to strip anyone in the media of their computers who might use them to distribute fake news or any potentially untruthful statement or words. If my firearm can be confiscated based on what my neighbor or relative thinks or says shouldn’t the same reasoning apply to the “freedom of the press”? Sen. Dickerson’s proposal is just another veiled attempt to control the lives of others and take away our rights simply because he disagrees with us, very typical of the liberal mindset.

  7. Tami Kilmarx

    So, what is the status of the investigations of the pain management centers, Comprehensive Pain Specialists, that were shuttered over Medicare fraud, bribery, that Dickerson was involved in? Given the opioid crisis we are confronting nationally and Dickerson (being an anesthesiologist) having, himself, contributed to this problem, he now wants to address this problem of “mental illness” and would violate Constitutional guarantees to do so? I find that RICH! Dickerson needs to be censored and removed from his position in the Legislature until this investigation is resolved….and some need to go to jail. Some down there are capable of running legislators out of there based on false allegations……we’ve seen it done!

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