Robyn Thomas had another op-ed filled with false claims in the Washington Post. While the Post didn’t publish our letter, here is what we sent them:
Robyn Thomas’ piece mischaracterizes laws in ways that helps her advance the Giffords Law Center’s gun control effort (“Five myths about Red-Flag Gun Laws,” April 23, 2021). She attacks my work showing that Baker Act/involuntary commitment laws are more effective than Red Flag Laws at dealing with people who are a danger to themselves or others. They offer judges a broader array of tools and provide the accused more legal protections – such as covering the costs of hearings for those who can’t afford it.
Thomas claims that these Baker Act laws “typically apply only after a violent act has been committed.” In fact, 50 states have Baker Act type laws and all of them allow individuals to be evaluated before a violent act is committed. Both Baker Act and Red Flag laws try to anticipate whether someone will commit harm.
Red Flag laws are overwhelmingly used when someone is seen as a suicide risk, and yet process doesn’t include mental health experts. Nor are these experts included when evaluating the risk to others.
John R. Lott, Jr., President, Crime Prevention Research Center
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