With two gun rampages in California this week helping maintain the nation’s average of one and a half mass shootings each day this year, South Dakota’s mugwumps think it’s a good time to reintroduce legislation to prevent law enforcement from preventing more shootings.
House Bill 1131 would prevent the enforcement of extreme risk protection orders. Specifically, it would make it a Class 6 felony for any state or local official to require people to surrender their firearms or ammunition or to refrain from acquiring firearms or ammunition to “reduce the risk of physical harm” to themselves or others. Essentially, HB 1131, sponsored by Rep. Aaron Aylward (R-6/Harrisburg) and other radical right-wingers in his “Freedom Caucus” are trying to nullify any “red flag laws’ intended to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous, mentally ill individuals. There is no federal red flag law for HB 1131 to nullify—the gun legislation President Biden signed last summer only encourages states to pass such laws, and South Dakota has not done so.
Just like Representatives Phil Jensen and Carl Perry with their anti-vaccine/anti-mask absolutism (and Jensen and Perry are both co-sponsors of HB 1131), Representative Aylward is again demonstrating that the right-wing’s absolutist elevation of personal rights over civic obligation leads to danger and destruction. Aylward and his allies so sanctify guns that we can’t take the practical measure of denying guns to genuine madmen.
Aylward floated a similar gun-absolutism bill in 2021; that bill failed, even after House Judiciary added exceptions to allow enforcement of protection orders against stalkers, assaulters, domestic abusers, and other violent criminals. Aylward has included those exceptions in this year’s HB 1131. But HB 1131 still demonstrates the gun nuts’ contempt for human life and disregard of the clear and present danger of easily accessible guns evinced by the ongoing daily slaughter of Americans.
Related Reading: Aylward won’t, but you may read the latest evidence on gun policies and their apparent effect on violence here.