He said that a Colorado city is filled with dirty, drug-addicted “zombies,” even though he’s never actually been there. He posed with a Confederate flag — "Hope no one is offended! Lol” — got it tattooed on his arm, yet thinks he’s a good judge of what is racist.
Now Assemblyman Parker Space doesn’t even have the facts straight on a law that he voted on. Sixteen other states have used “red flag” laws to disarm people who threatened mass shootings, like a suspected neo-Nazi leader arming himself for a race war, whose weapons cache was seized in Washington state in October.
But Space, a Republican from Sussex County, has been spreading false rumors about a similar law in New Jersey — saying it’s about jack-booted thugs coming for your guns, and urging people in the rural, northernmost corner of our state to pass empty resolutions to support the Second Amendment.
This is what happens when you watch too much Fox News. Anyone familiar with its diet of disinformation knows the tell-tale signs.
Space claims our law works like this: You could be having coffee with someone, say a colleague, who simply doesn’t like what you have to say about President Trump. She could report it to police, and on that basis, the cops will come to your door and take your guns away.
He said this in front of everyone, at a public meeting last week. And it’s not even close to the truth. It is a judge who decides whether to take away the guns of someone who poses an imminent danger, based on a petition from a household member, relative or police.
The gun owner can make his case at a hearing within 10 days, with his attorney. And he can still appeal. Even Trump agrees with red flag laws. Does Space realize that he’s got this totally wrong?
He refused to get on the phone with us last week, saying his sources are unnamed “constitutional attorneys,” and the same pro-gun lawyer who is defending another Sussex County man, accused of stockpiling weapons and Nazi paraphernalia, terrorizing his ex-girlfriend by holding a gun to the back of her head, and talking about shooting up a hospital. Ok.
Thankfully, not everyone in Sussex County has a distorted sense of reality. The Republican mayor of Stillwater, Lisa Chammings, was the lone dissenting vote in her town last week. She supports the Second Amendment but didn’t want to say that our red flag law was being “misapplied and misused” without seeing any actual examples of this.
She’s the daughter of the town’s late police chief, and wants evidence. She knows “the amount of domestic violence this township went through,” and alluded to the suicide of a police officer, the kinds of harmful acts that red flag laws are intended to prevent. Good for her.
The burden of proof is not “low” in New Jersey, as Space claims. To take someone’s guns away, police must show probable cause that the person poses an imminent danger, as both the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Attorney General have made clear.
Do facts count? Now that this has come to his attention, will Space amend his statements? Will he stop scaring people with misinformation? He refused to say.
We won’t hold our breath.