Fundamental problem of “Red Flag” laws: If a person is a “threat to self or others” because of mental health issues, then taking away their guns doesn’t make them not a threat to self or others. It simply removes (maybe—illegal avenues for obtaining firearms still abound) one method that could be used to do that harm.
Look, I could go to the local Walmart and walk out with the means to kill dozens to hundreds of people easily. The information on how to do it is trivially easy to find on the Internet or a public library or, hell, a good encyclopedia.
Three methods that are so obvious that I’m not worried about “inspiring” someone (don’t try this at home, kiddies) by mentioning them: fire, explosives, and poison.
If a person is “a threat to self or others” then taking their guns away does not stop the threat. You have to deal with the person and the person’s issues. If you do that, stop the person as a threat, then the guns become a non-issue. If you don’t, then the guns are also a non-issue because there are just too many alternatives available to a person who is a threat to self and others.
Look at the list of the deadliest massacres in the US. Even if we exclude those committed by government, you find plenty where guns weren’t used. The deadliest slaughter in the US involved a handful of terrorists using box cutters, which they used to gain control of airplanes, which they then used do destroy the twin towers. Number two used fertilizer, fuel oil, and a rental truck. Gasoline spread at the base of a stairwell and the only access to a social club was used to kill more people than any non-government mass shooting in US history—multiple exits won’t prevent such a deliberate slaughter; it would just be more work.
You have to deal with the person. Everything else is a distraction. Deal with the person and the rest won’t matter. Fail to deal with the person…and the rest won’t matter.
1) Make help more readily available to those who need it.
2) Remove, or at least dramatically reduce the concern that getting help will lead to permanent loss of fundamental rights like RKBA. This fear only serves to cause people to avoid getting help when they need it.
3) When people won’t get help on their own, that’s what due process is for. Use it.
2-3a) I’ll note that a person who comes in to get help of his own free will, or with only mild “nudging” can generally be expected to cooperate with treatment and identify relapses calling for a return to treatment. Benefit of the doubt should be extended to those people to be able to use their own judgement about whether they are safe around arms or not. Let them keep their rights (or recover it once they’re well into recovery from their problems). If people have to be forced by court order to go into treatment for severe mental problems that make them a threat to self and others, well, that’s a pretty good indicator of how they will behave in the future as well, n’est pas?
4) When a person is in treatment, they need to be very closely monitored. Look, mental health can be a complicated issue and the treatment that’s perfect for one person can make three others worse. One needs to keep close watch while finding the right combination of treatments—which can include medications, counseling, and other things—to make sure you’re not making the issue worse, or simply temporarily masking it. Just writing a prescription and then leaving it can end up increasing, rather than decreasing, the “threat to self and others.”
Anyway, that’s my suggestion. Note that abandoning due process to deprive people of liberty and property (to say nothing of life) is no part of it.