Following reports that police intended to place Aaron Carter on a psychiatric hold, commenters on social media called on authorities to take the pro-Second Amendment pop star’s guns away.
Carter, 31, told TMZ on Monday that Los Angeles County officers showed up to his home on Sunday after receiving a call from an unnamed party worried about his mental state.
The younger brother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter has at times had difficulty coping with fame and life post-child stardom. Friends, fans and family have frequently expressed concern about his well-being.
According to Carter, law enforcement left without placing him on a 5150 hold, which allows for the involuntary detention of a person deemed a danger to themself or others.
Carter, a registered gun owner, said he left his firearms upstairs when he realized police were knocking at his door. TMZ’s Harvey Levin asked Carter whether he thinks someone else should take possession of his weapons while he deals with his medical issues in case things go “off center.”
“Things aren’t going to go off center, and there’s no bad things that are going to happen,” Carter replied.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told TMZ that Carter’s family members have expressed concern about his well-being and that it is investigating the incident.
The former teen idol recently revealed he’s been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, acute anxiety and manic depression. Carter has spoken in the past about struggling with drug abuse.
In August, Carter revealed in a video posted to Instagram that he had become a licensed gun owner, expressed support for the right to bear arms and said that he’d inherited more than 500 curio and relic firearms.
“I finally got my gun license! I fully support the constitution and my right to bear arms,” Carter said in caption to the video. “My father was a military policeman for 21 years and I’m inheriting over 500 curio relic firearms from 3 generations on my fathers side.”
— The Doctors (@TheDoctors) September 13, 2019
On a recent episode of daytime talk show “The Doctors,” Carter defended his gun ownership by saying he “fully endorsed” the Second Amendment and planned on donating the 500 firearms he’d inherited to the United States Army.
The reaction to the latest Aaron Carter incident on social media
Many Twitter users expressed consternation that Carter’s guns hadn’t been taken away by Los Angeles County police.
Jonathan Franks, a blue-checkmarked spokesman for television personality Montell Williams claiming to be an acquaintance of Carter’s, said the “I Want Candy” singer “should not have guns.”
He manipulated whoever the mental eval person is. That person failed big and so did the officers on the call. Aaron shouldn’t have firearms. Someone needs to step in and get the court involved.
— Elisa (@EggInkPDX) September 17, 2019
Other commenters tagged in gun control activist Shannon Watts and her Moms Demand Action organization.
Aaron Carter has multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, and acute anxiety, but is still allowed to purchase guns. Wtf!?! pic.twitter.com/gIu0BIgR7U
— Craig Lin (@CraigLin) September 11, 2019
One user said Carter’s case was an argument for abolishing the Second Amendment.
Seems to be a pattern here where mentally ill people who shouldn’t have guns keep making public statements about how we’ll have to take them from their cold, dead hands. It’s like free advertisement for abolishing the second amendment.
— Phill MaCrackin (@PhillMaCrackin3) September 17, 2019
“Hey, I feel like we should take Aaron Carter‘s guns. Mental illness is not a person’s fault, but it is their responsibility and, if one truly understands their condition, they should understand that certain precautions should be taken,” tweeted still another commenter.
The red flag debate
In the wake of recent tragedies in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, politicians and gun control advocates have suggested various measures to combat a surge in American mass shootings.
One proposal includes enacting so-called “red flag” laws.
“Red flag” laws, sometimes called extreme risk protection order laws, allow police or people with close ties to a gun owner to petition courts for orders that require individuals deemed a threat to temporarily surrender their firearms. In 2018, more than 1,700 such orders were issued, according to the Associated Press.
14 states have already passed “red flag” laws.
While the intent of the policy is to prevent tragedy before it strikes, gun rights proponents worry about potential abuses in implementing the law.
Kentucky GOP Rep. Thomas Massie said in May that “red flag” laws are “ripe for abuse.”
In 2018, a Maryland man was shot and killed by a police officer trying to enforce the city’s “red flag” law.