by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Red flag gun laws are suddenly popular in America. Colorado recently became the fifteenth state to pass such a law.
The law, the tenth such passed since the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, will allow authorities to seize the private property—firearms—of someone deemed a risk to himself or others after successfully petitioning a court. …
… Divining what is legal and what is not is no simple task in this era of constitutional penumbras, yet there is no question that red flag gun laws turn due process on its head. In fact, one might say that red flag laws walk dangerously close to an infamous idea in sci-fi literature: pre-crime.
Many readers have probably heard of pre-crime, a theme explored in the hit 2002 Minority Report. The movie, which starred Tom Cruise and was directed by Steven Spielberg, shows us a world in which murder doesn’t exist because authorities have figured out a way to prevent such crimes before they happen.
The film is based on a 1956 novel written by Philip K. Dick, the same author whose literary works inspired such films as Blade Runner, The Man in the High Castle, and Total Recall. If there’s a central theme running through Dick’s work, it’s the idea that the future will increasingly find individual autonomy under threat from creeping authoritarianism and omnipresent technology.