Sunday, June 12, 2022

No Effect from "Red Flag" law in California JAMA study

On April 5, 2022, the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Netw Open published a study attempting to find a reduction in firearms fatal and non-fatal injuries associated with a very aggressive implementation of a "Red Flag" law, also known as a gun violence restraining order or GVRO, in San Diego County, California. 

The results surprised and appear to have shocked them. No statistical association existed, although the data was the most comprehensive to date, and the study was designed to find such an association. 

No such association existed.

The study was funded by various contributions from philanthropic and government sources.  Dr. Garen Wintemute, is the most well known of the authors. It appears most of the analysis was done by Dr. Veronica A. Pear. 

Author Contributions: Dr Pear had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

It is clear the authors expected to find a statistically significant drop in fatal and non-fatal firearm injuries, both from assault and self harm. If there were an association, this study had the best chance to find it.  From the abstract:

Key Points

Question  Has implementation of the gun violence restraining order law, beginning in 2016, been associated with a reduction in firearm assault or firearm self-harm in San Diego County, California?

Findings  In this cross-sectional study, the gun violence restraining order law was not significantly associated with a reduction in firearm violence of any kind during its first 4 years of implementation, 2016 to 2019.

Meaning  These results suggest that gun violence restraining order implementation did not reduce population-level rates of firearm violence in San Diego County, but future studies should investigate whether there were individual-level benefits to those directly affected.

This correspondent applauds Dr. Pear and her associates for publishing this null result. It shows integrity on their part. 


There was no examination of the costs of the legislation, which can be significant. JAMA consistently ignores costs of legislation.

Hundreds of people were stigmatized by the Red Flag laws. Many likely lost jobs. Increased depression and loss of trust in the legal system and the rule of law were likely results. The financial cost was likely substantial.

At the minimum, a correlation with the law and reduced firearm injuries and fatalities, has to be shown, or there is no reasonable reason for the law to exist.

There was no correlation.  

Our government was not designed to be run by technocratic "experts".  Experts can be found to provide reasons for any desired policy. The COVID years show we are continually lied to by "experts" "for our own good". 

This means we are lied to by experts for their own reasons.

Public trust in government "experts" has dropped to historically low levels. 

The philosophy of limiting government power is showing its merit.

Many excuses were given as to why no correlation was discovered. 

The usual refrain was brought out. Give us more money and have us do more studies.

The cynical side of this correspondent whispers, if your grant funding depends on finding a correlation, a correlation will be found. 

A recent editorial in JAMA Newt  Open fairly drips with condensation for those who oppose unlimited government power.  JAMA is a quintessential Progressive organization. It sees government action as only in one direction - to do good things. Of course, only Progressives are allowed to define what is good, what is truth, and what is not either good or true.  

The editorial acknowledges the large number of GVROs in San Diego county were driven by "the enthusiasm of the local city attorney," which shows the policy was driven by one person's emotion, ambition, and bias.

Governments and the leadership of JAMA are not made of angels. 

They are humans. Humans are fallible. Humans are swayed by ambition, pride, power, money, and peer group bias.

The Constitution limits government for broad reasons of human nature. By the nature of limited government, some approaches are taken off the table. 

Violating due process is one of the approaches which is supposed to be off the table. 

This study shows any gains from this approach are immeasurably small, if they exist at all.  It is equally possible red flag laws do more harm than good.

Even pure, limited view pragmatism cannot justify this law.

More deference to due process of law should be required, when the law involves the exercise of a fundamental Constitutional right.

The red flag or GVPO laws are invitations for abuse. The courts, thus far, have claimed there is no violation of due process, if Second Amendment rights have only been removed for a year.

Progressives have never valued due process or limited government. Because the Second Amendment limits what governments are allowed to do, antipathy to the Second Amendment is in Progressive DNA

This correspondent expects more court cases.  

©2022 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

One very important thing to know, Article one section nine item three of our constitution states NO EX POST FACTO LAW SHALL BE PASSED. that means the Red Flag laws can not be retroactive, any thing they outlaw has to be grandfathered in. Is any one beginning to see why the Dems and the Liberals ended the high school requirement to study the constitution over 50 years ago?????????? Get your copy and start reading!!!!! We the citizens control government. they are trying to dumb us down so the government can control the people. fascist Marxism. if we do not stop them soon our constitution will be history. open your eyes wake up or our cherished freedoms are gone.

Anonymous said...

It the Dems and liberals ever destroy the second amendment they will take total control the reason the framers gave us the second amendment was so that could never happen.