Thoughts on Gun Control #2: Is It Time To Allow NC Voters To Recall State Officials?
Letting no crisis go to waste, Democratic US Senators with the help of fourteen Republican US Senators (doing their best impressions of Democrats) passed a slate of new ‘red flag legislation’ in a bill termed the Safer Communities Act. This comes after the Democrat controlled House passed a similar bill several weeks ago in the wake to the shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo.
Democrats and the far left never shy away from their desire to enact gun control and let no crisis go wasted. Anytime there's a shooting or tragic event, Democrats call for stricter gun measures. After the shooting in Uvalde, the Biden Administration and top Congressional Democrats wasted no time in doing so, even while some of the bodies were still being identified.
This bill was spurred by that initial push for gun control, and now because of what I think are weak Republicans new red flag legislation is likely going to be signed into law by President Biden. One of the reasons this is happening now is because there is no strong Republican leadership to keep the spineless Republicans in their place.
Despite red flag laws being ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and the bill being clearly politically opportunistic and a flagrant violation of the Tenth Amendment, both of our State Senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, were part of a group of fourteen Republican Senators crossing the aisle to vote with Democrats on the Senate version of the House's bill.
In theory I don't mind having red flag laws, but the people at present writing them are also the people in theory that you don't want writing them. Many states already have some form of red flag laws anyway, making the legislation feel out of place, as it should.
What isn't clear though is how this new legislation would prevent further 'gun violence' as the shooters in Uvalde, Buffalo, and Parkland all engaged in activities that should have set off many 'red flags' within the community and in the state, but somehow went unnoticed by those who had the power to do something.
Possibly considering this in part of their reasoning, Republican leaders in the House called the bill 'poorly crafted legislation focused on firearm confiscation and undermining the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens' during the process of passing the House version of the bill. Other Republicans, including Ted Cruz and Jim Jordan also took issue with the bill, making statements saying something to the same effect.
Despite the failed efforts of Republicans in the House to herd those of their own party back into their pen, the effort overall was surely doomed to fail as Republicans really didn't have the numbers to mount considerable opposition. This should have been a different story in the Senate, but again because of the fourteen Republicans, Democrats were also able to succeed there as well.
In voting this way, I personally do not think Burr or Tillis are representing the Republican voters of NC, who have a strong culture of firearm ownership and therefore an aversion to gun control, even if veiled in the somewhat agreeable cause of preventing further school shootings.
In several states, when the voters feel their elected representatives don't represent them, they can initiate a recall effort. This makes sense and seems to be a sensible safeguard to protect the voters of a state from the unpopular whims of apathetic elected officials.
North Carolina allows for recalling of elected officials, but this really only extends to local officials and differs from county to county. Fortunately for us, that can be changed with new legislation.
This new legislation can either be an amendment to the state constitution or a new law. An amendment would ensure it can't be shot down by the courts, and is therefore the better option by default. This amendment could be approved by the General Assembly, assuming we have enough of the votes from our probable Republican supermajority in 2022. The amendment can also be approved as a ballot measure.
Either option means Burr and Tillis couldn't create a whole world of hurt for NC voters while they count their remaining days in office and to me that is why the General Assembly should enact legislation making recalls of state officials possible.