Plain Talk: People Targeted by “Red Flag” Law Have to Pay to Defend Their Gun Rights, Oil Industry Pays Half of All North Dakota Taxes


Over the weekend I had an interesting Twitter conversation with state Rep. Karla Rose Hanson, the sponsor of so-called “red flag” legislation which would allow law enforcement, or even just friends/family, to initiate a process through which a person’s guns can be seized based claims that they’re a danger to themselves and/or others.

During that conversation something occurred to me: How do those targeted for that sort of proceeding defend themselves?

The answer, because we’re talking about a civil and not criminal proceeding, is that the defendant would either have to pay out of pocket to hire an attorney to defend their rights or risk defending themselves. The latter being a poor option. “A person who represents themselves has a fool for a client,” as the adage goes.

There are other concerns too. We know there is a heavy overlap between gun owners and veterans. We also know that veterans struggle with PTSD. Are we going to put veterans, not to mention others struggling with mental health challenges like depression, in the position of feeling like they need to eschew treatment lest it be used against them in a civil proceeding against their gun rights initiated by a vengeful spouse in the middle of an ugly divorce?

I talk about all that on today’s Plain Talk podcast.

Also North Dakota Petroleum Council president Ron Ness talks about a study showing the state’s oil industry has paid roughly half of all of North Dakota’s taxes over the last five fiscal years.

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