Church Doubles Down On Support For “Red Flag” Laws

Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee has proposed a red flag statute that would give state officials more authority to seize firearms from people deemed a risk to themselves or others. 

Even though many pastors and church members have spoken out against it, the public policy agency of the Southern Baptist Convention has reaffirmed its support for the new law in Tennessee.

The Equal Rights Amendment Coalition (ERLC) published an explanation on Friday, emphasizing that the policy is distinct from a red flag law because only law enforcement officials can file a petition before the court to have firearms confiscated, and an individual can only be dispossessed of the guns after a whole legal proceeding has been completed. 

Last week, Brent Leatherwood, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, wrote a letter to state lawmakers supporting the proposal. Three of Leatherwood’s children attend The Covenant School in Nashville, where the transgender shooter killed three students and three teachers.

Government officials can abuse the authority granted by the statutes to deprive citizens of their means for self-defense, a concern that Second Amendment activists have voiced. Red flag laws are widely unpopular among most Republicans and many independents.

Despite Tennessee House Republicans’ opposition to the red flag law plan on Wednesday, the ERLC continued to advocate for it on Thursday. “Any red flag law is a non-starter for House Republicans,” the conference announced. 

While reiterating his support for the red flag rule on social media, Leatherwood referred to two resolutions approved by the Southern Baptist Convention’s attendance. 

Leatherwood tried to use the magnitude of the Southern Baptist denomination to get support for the red flag idea by telling lawmakers that “Southern Baptists comprise over one-fifth of the population of Tennessee,” according to reports.

In recent years, prominent Southern Baptists have been accused of regularly backing policies that go against the wishes of local churches.