Biblical reasons for opposing Colorado’s Red Flag Order, an opinion by Jack Kettler
Colorado has passed one of the most onerous and unconstitutional so-called red flag laws. The evaluation of this so-called law will focus on a biblical assessment of it. The bill is due to become law on January 1, 2020, is called the extreme risk protection order (ERPO).
First, the ERPO will be evaluated on how it is a direct violation of the “Eighth Commandment” and second as an infringement of biblical case or procedural laws. In addition, the Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments of the “Bill of Rights” are rooted in biblical law, and as will be seen, these amendments are in direct conflict with the ERPO. In this evaluation, there will be some jumping back and forth between biblical and constitutional laws and quotations by the founding fathers.
See the link below for the online reading of the bill. The bill is written in typical vague (could mean many things to different people) legalese, the language of attorneys.
The Overarching Central Law the ERPO is in violation of:
“Thou shalt not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)
The “Eighth Commandment” is a prohibition against the stealing of personal property.
Stealing Property and the ERPO:
A firearm is a personal piece of property.
It is inescapable that the ERPO involves the taking of property by force if the property owner refuses to comply with a red flag order. A proponent of the ERPO may say that this removal of a person’s firearms is only temporary if the accused later proves his or her innocence. Proving innocence later is not part of our legal system or any system based upon biblical law.
For example, Sir William Blackstone, the renowned English jurist on innocent until proven guilty:
“all presumptive evidence of felony should be admitted cautiously, for the law holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” (1)
Biblical law puts the brakes on quick legal judgments. Blackstone’s argument that evidence should be admitted cautiously is rooted in the book of Deuteronomy 17:6.
“On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.” (Deuteronomy 17:6 ESV)
The presumption of innocence is a biblical concept.
The prophet Micah in metaphoric language condemns the destruction of property by rulers of the people:
“And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; is it not for you to know judgment? Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron. Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings.” (Micah 3:1-4)
Destruction of property has the same effect as the unjust taking of property.
The Fifth Amendment and the taking of private property:
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
The Fifth Amendment is rooted in biblical law, specifically Deuteronomy 17:6. In violation of the Fifth Amendment, Colorado’s ERPO offers no just compensation; instead, it has the threat of raw force unless submitting to unproven accusations contained in the ERPO. Under the ERPO, the property is not being taken for public use, but allegedly for the public good.
John Adams on the importance of property rights and the commandments of Heaven:
“Suppose a nation, rich and poor, high and low, ten millions in number, all assembled together; not more than one or two millions will have lands, houses, or any personal property; if we take into the account the women and children, or even if we leave them out of the question, a great majority of every nation is wholly destitute of property, except a small quantity of clothes, and a few trifles of other movables. Would Mr. Nedham be responsible that, if all were to be decided by a vote of the majority, the eight or nine millions who have no property, would not think of usurping over the rights of the one or two millions who have? Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of everything be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.” (2)
Webster’s Dictionary concurs:
“Theft is the general term and larceny the legal term for the unlawful or felonious taking away of another’s property without his or her consent and with the intention of depriving the person of it; robbery in its strict legal sense implies the felonious taking of another’s property from that person or in his or her immediate presence by the use of violence or intimidation.” – Webster’s New World Dictionary
Before legal prerequisites are met, Adams and the Webster dictionary consider the taking of property stealing.
The next section in this biblical evaluation is in regards to case or procedural law. Case or procedural law is how the mechanism of government works. Is the ERPO biblical or not?
Four areas of biblical concern regarding the ERPO with overlaps between the points:
A. Essentially, there is a nonexistent standard of evidence required in the ERPO.
One anonymous witness can put the ERPO process in motion. According to Scripture, the evidence must be confirmed biblically. God’s law is the standard one witness is not enough.
“A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.” (Deuteronomy 19:15)
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Deuteronomy 19:15:
“De 19:15. Two Witnesses Required.
15. One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity – The following rules to regulate the admission of testimony in public courts are founded on the principles of natural justice. A single witness shall not be admitted to the condemnation of an accused person.” (3)
Any action by the police based upon one witness according to biblical law is unacceptable. Colorado’s ERPO has no process of determining if the accusation brought forth is true or not. Issuing an order because the accusation sounds credible is purely subjective.
B. Colorado’s ERPO involves the Slander of innocent citizens.
As stated in point A., the state has no valid mechanism under the ERPO to determine beyond a doubt that the accusation against and individual is true.
Because of this inability, the ERPO court order may be nothing more than spreading a lie:
“You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.” (Exodus 23:1)
“A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.” (Proverbs 25:18)
There is no guarantee in the ERPO that someone coming forth to inform on his or her neighbor is not lying. In some cases of red flag laws, a monetary bond must be procured, which will be forfeited upon finding the affirmation describing the situation to be false or misleading. Restrictions like these at least provide some deterrent against a false witness. Colorado’s ERPO has no biblical process to determine the truth or falsity of an accuser’s accusations.
C. There is no notification of the right to counsel in Colorado’s ERPO.
In Colorado’s ERPO, the accused does not even know that he or she is accused. Essentially, the state of Colorado has begun legal action against someone without notification. The police can show up at the accused’s house unannounced, proving that there is no legal notification.
In contrast, biblical justice requires more than one judge to review the case to determine the merit of the accusation or accusations against an individual.
“The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother.” (Deuteronomy 19:18)
Under Colorado’s ERPO, no one is inquiring diligently. John Gill’s comments on the Deuteronomy 19:18 passage is helpful.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on Deuteronomy 19:18:
“And the judges shall make diligent inquisition … Into the case before them, into the nature of the evidence and proof that each witness brings for or against; so the Targum of Jonathan, “the judges shall interrogate the witness, by whom these things are said, well;’ shall thoroughly examine the testimony given, and look carefully into it:
And, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; it appears plainly by full evidence that he has testified a falsehood of him.” (4)
As said, in the Colorado ERPO, the accused does not even know that he or she has been accused and by this very nature would not know they needed legal advice. Biblical procedural law requires review by judges, plural who inquire diligently.
D. There is no actual defense for the accused against false accusations or the right of cross-examination in the ERPO.
In this section under point D. Deuteronomy, 19:18 is again relevant.
“The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother.” (Deuteronomy 19:18)
In this second use of Deuteronomy, we will use Barnes’ Notes on the Bible on Deuteronomy 19:18:
“Both the men, between whom the controversy is – Not the accused and the false witness, but the plaintiff and defendant (compare Exodus 23:1) who were summoned before the supreme court held, as provided in Deuteronomy 17, at the sanctuary. The judges acted as God’s representative; to lie to them was to lie to Him.” (5)
The next passage from Deuteronomy 25:1 further confirms this:
“If there is a dispute between men, they are to go to court to be judged, so that the innocent may be acquitted and the guilty condemned.” (Deuteronomy 25:1)
Under the ERPO, the accused has no opportunity to confront and challenge his accuser according to biblical precedent. In fact, the accused does not know of any police action against them until threatened by surprise unannounced, highly dangerous confrontation without any time to make a proper rational evaluation of the situation on the part of the defendant.
Will the accused upon an unannounced police raid think they are the victim of a home invasion? If so and subsequently brandishing a firearm, will the police shoot the accused, along with family members and pets?
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary summarizes this section from Deuteronomy on court proceedings:
“19:15-21 Sentence should never be passed upon the testimony of one witness alone. A false witness should suffer the same punishment, which he sought to have inflicted upon the person he accused. Nor could any law be more just. Let all Christians not only be cautious in bearing witness in public, but be careful not to join in private slanders; and let all whose consciences accuse them of crime, without delay flee for refuge to the hope set before them in Jesus Christ.” (6)
Fourth Amendment and God-given rights protection:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The Fourth Amendment did not just arise out of thin air in the framer’s mind. The Fourth Amendment has strong, biblical influence, namely, that the sanctity of a man’s home should not be infringed.
The biblical standard for this procedural case law is in Deuteronomy 24:10-11 that prohibits a lender from entering a man’s home without his permission to secure the payment of debt:
“When you make your neighbor a loan of any sort, you shall not go into his house to collect his pledge. You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you make the loan shall bring the pledge out to you.” (Deuteronomy 24:10-11 ESV)
Concerning this case law, R. J. Rushdoony explains the restriction:
“This law sets down a premise which has had a major impact on Christendom. When, in colonial America, Judge James Otis decreed that “a man’s home is his castle,” he had reference to this law. Intrusion into a man’s house is a violation of his freedom. God’s law protects a man from the malice and interference of powerful men. To protect men’s houses and properties is to uphold God’s order because God has established the legitimate boundaries of the family’s jurisdiction and freedom.” (7)
Colorado’s ERPO goes way beyond intruding into a person’s home. As said earlier, it is inescapable that the ERPO involves the taking of property. The way this plays out is either voluntary or involuntary. If the police come to your house unannounced and confront you about the property you may own, you have two choices, comply or resist.
There is legal precedent for resisting police who are acting illegally or where the police in a no-knock raid have the wrong address. However, resisting may involve serious injury or worse to a number of individuals.
Do the police have a search warrant? What judge signed the warrant? What does the warrant say about what is being searched for? Who signed the oath or affirmation in the warrant? What is the probable cause listed in the warrant? Does an ERPO have the same status as a warrant?
A warrant should have the above questions answered based upon eyewitness affirmation of items of concern, whereas Colorado’s ERPO requires none. If an item of concern is a gun, what constitutional right does a government official have to list a gun as something to be seized if the accused has committed no crime? The Second Amendment protects the right of gun ownership. Biblically, the Second Amendment falls under self-defense passages in Scripture, such as Nehemiah 4:16-18.
“From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me.” (Nehemiah 4:16-18 ESV)
Colorado’s ERPO takes away a citizen’s right to self-defense.
A Response by the Accused:
Depending upon the nature of the raid, the accused may respond to the police by demanding a warrant as a precondition for entry. If the police have no properly signed warrant to show the property owner, the accused can order the police off his or her property.
Anyone following the news knows that the highest fed gov law enforcement, the FBI, and the Department of Justice officials have lied to obtain FISA court warrants against innocent citizens. To put complete trust in law enforcement officials, and judges and to think that there will not be abuses is foolish. If you think only fed gov officials can be corrupt, you are foolish indeed.
What are God Given rights, and can legislative actions invalidate them?
The concept of man’s rights being unalienable* is grounded upon the conviction of their God-given source. God-given rights can be called “Natural Rights,” which means “under the decrees of God’s creation,” God confers these rights upon humanity. * Definition of unalienable: not exchangeable for another, and are not capable of being denied.
Colorado’s ERPO throws the wisdom of founding father Alexander Hamilton out the window:
“…No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.” – Federalist Paper #78 Alexander Hamilton
Hamilton uses the age-old question, which came first the chicken or the egg. Specifically, which came first the people or the state? Obviously, the people who, through their representatives, constructed the contract or Constitution containing the “Bill of Rights.” The “Bill of Rights” are limitations on the state. Therefore, too justifiably put words in Hamilton’s mouth, Colorado’s ERPO is not valid. That is why a number of Colorado county sheriffs have said they will not enforce any ERPO’s.
Colorado’s ERPO and the trashing of over 3 thousand years of legal protection:
In this writer’s opinion, Colorado’s ERPO is not a warrant or even a lawful order. It is essentially a piece of paper issued by a star chamber. Maybe Colorado will soon send police officers with “orders” to pay money or turn in your car to the state.
As seen from the above quotes, more than 3 thousand years ago in Deuteronomy, Israel, and an agrarian nation had superior legal standards than Colorado does today.
If you believe that pedophile Jeffrey Epstein hung himself, the guards fell asleep and technical surveillance camera equipment failed; you will love this tyrannical man-made law via the state of Colorado.
The legislators who put this piece of so-called legislation together should be ashamed of themselves. It will be, in all certainty, be overturned in higher courts. Unfortunately, a number of innocent citizens may suffer great harm, while legal reviews and challenges take place.
1. Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, J.B. Lippincott), Vol. 4, Chapter 27, p. 5.
2. John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America,” Vol. 3, First Chapter: The Right Constitution of a Commonwealth Examined, 1787-1788, Works 6:8-9.
3. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 156.
4. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Deuteronomy, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 230.
5. Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Deuteronomy, Vol. 1, p. 379.
6. Matthew Henry, Concise Commentary, Deuteronomy, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 330.
7. R. J. Rushdoony, Commentaries on the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy, (Vallecito, California, Ross House Books, 2008), p. 389-390.
Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks. Available at: http://www.thereligionthatstartedinahat.com/
HB19-1177 Extreme Risk Protection Orders Extreme Risk Protection Orders | Colorado General Assembly
Extreme Risk Protection Orders | Colorado General Assembly
For more reading:
A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State by John W. Whitehead
Battlefield America: The War On The American People by John W. Whitehead
Licensed to Lie by Sydney Powell
Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Harvey Silverglate and Alan M. Dershowitz
You Have the Right to Remain Innocent by Law professor James J. Duane