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Countable Explains Red Flag Laws

by Countable | 2.23.18

What’s the story?

In the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, FL national attention has turned to the idea of "red flag laws" as an example of gun control that balances public safety with concerns about 2nd Amendment rights and due process.

Currently, five states have red flag laws in place -- Indiana, Connecticut, Oregon, Washington, and California.

Another 18 states and D.C. are considering enacting them -- Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, North Carolina, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Florida.

Federal legislation has also been proposed to incentivize adoption of red flag laws by states.

In all five states where the laws exist, law enforcement may seize guns temporarily from an individual who is deemed at risk for violence against themselves or others, before they commit a crime or necessarily have a formal mental health diagnosis. A judge then determines, within 2-3 weeks, whether the guns should be returned or whether the individual should be barred from owning guns for up to a year.

The orders are called "gun violence restraining orders" or “extreme risk protection orders”.

The laws vary slightly from state to state. In Connecticut and Indiana, only law enforcement can petition a judge to remove an individual’s right to own firearms. In California, Oregon and Washington, family members as well as law enforcement can request an order from a judge.

Mental illness, escalating threats, substance abuse and domestic violence are all common reasons that the orders are initiated.

The laws have limitations. Unless the orders are reported to the national background check database they do not prevent an individual from purchasing new guns while their firearms are in custody. And private and gun show sales don’t require background checks at all.

Also, if law enforcement and the public are not aware of the laws then they aren’t used. In the wake of the Parkland shooting, Indiana officials have initiated an awareness campaign for law enforcement to increase their law's use.

When the laws are utilized, however, studies show they help to prevent both homicides and suicides, which account for 60 percent of all gun deaths. In Connecticut it was estimated that 1 suicide was prevented for every 10 to 11 guns seized, and in 44 percent of cases the request for a risk warrant led to the individual receiving psychiatric treatment.

Want to know more about red flag laws? Here are some articles for further reading:

What do you think?

Do you support the expansion of red flag laws to more states? Do you think only law enforcement should be able to request them, or family and other community members? Do you live in a state with red flag laws? Do you think they’re working? Do you live in a state considering a red flaw law? Will you work to support or block that effort?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(37)
  • Robert
    02/23/2018
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    Support the red flag laws. Make sure in the mid term elections that you do not vote for any politician who has excepted money from the NRA. It would be preferable if you look for the candidates who do not except pac money of any kind. Until we get the money out of our democratic system we will continue to see a lack of common sense from our politicians. It is time to send a definitive message to our politicians. We want our democratic government back again.

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  • gwenhutch
    02/23/2018
    ···

    Put into place Red Flag laws and make sure they extend to cover gun shows and other new gun purchases. This is a step in the right direction.

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  • TracyEckels
    02/24/2018
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    When I was 17. I was out one night having a good time with my friends, my mother was attending her fathers funeral and my father being a very big alcoholic was in the midst of wrestling with my sister to gain control of his rifle from her. I don’t know how this came about but when I got home my sister and Father were at the top of the stairs fighting over the rifle. I flew up the stairs like I was Superman and seized the gun from the both of them. I later discovered that the gun was loaded with a round in the chamber my fathers finger was on the trigger and my sister was drawing the end of the rifle into herself. If I hadn’t acted the way I did she would have been dead that night. What erks me, was the way that the police responded. They would not take any of the guns out of the house or arrest my father, just to get him out of the house for at least the night. I had to get my uncle to come and get the guns out of the house. The police basically said “ well, its his house”.

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  • S
    02/24/2018
    ···

    People call the police when they see a person driving erratically. Exceeding the speed limit requires that the driver be pulled over, ticketed, and fined.. Children are required to be in car seats by law. Drunk drivers are stopped and immediately removed from continuing to drive at that point. Shouting “Fire” in a theater is illegal. People who run red lights or stop signs receive tickets and fines. Repeated offenses for driving while intoxicated may cause drivers to lose their licenses, and they may face jail time along with fines. Domestic violence perpetrators are immediately removed from the home as required by law in some states. Why do we do this? To protect the safety of the public. Society needs rules to ensure “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are protected. No one says you can’t drive a car. No one says you can’t drink. But there are limitations. For the greater good. Gun control is no different. No one says you can’t own a gun but there are already limitations on them. You can’t take them into airports or on planes, in schools, in govt buildings, in hospitals and other places of public access. Why? For protection of the public. Dangerous things that have the potential for harm or death require regulations.

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  • Gib
    02/23/2018
    ···

    I just have to wonder.... who or what in the hell would all you delusional screwballs blame if guns were to be abolished in America, and yet people still kept getting killed?

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  • realitydenier
    02/24/2018
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    Get on board with the “red flag” law. Florida is too permissive with its gun purchasing arrangements. This would give concerned citizens and the police a venue to report a person who is in danger of harming him/herself or others.

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  • August
    02/23/2018
    ···

    Every day police get calls from family members begging them to take the guns away from a loved one, they fear is going to use their gun(s) on someone (my wife worked for the police in Little Rock ). We NEED these laws nation wide, not just the West coast.

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  • Rebecca
    02/24/2018
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    We need to have discussions about these types of ideas rather than doing nothing. I’m not even saying I like the red flag idea but it’s used in 5 states so having a discussion about its pros and cons should be practical. I’m sick of conservatives lying and bullying people into thinking that having any discussion about red flag states or any type of smart gun control might mean that the next step is taking away your all your guns and constitutional rights. This is simply not true. It’s BS! We can be smarter than the spoon fed propaganda from the NRA and have an intelligent discussion about keeping our school kids safe from getting shot by a weapon of war and at the same time protect all constitutional rights.

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  • Christopher
    02/24/2018
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    There is no common sense in gun ownership in this country, only death for the victims of their bankrupt sense of selfish preservation. This is an epidemic which needs a cure before it consumes our society and it’s law enforcement capabilities. Either find the will to stop the proliferation of assault weapons, or face the alternative; no legal weapons for anyone.

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  • OlderNWiser
    02/26/2018
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    The gun law loopholes need to be filled in. My next-door neighbor with a TBI,alcohol addiction, and other drug use had at least one loaded gun in every room of his house to control his wife. He threatened my life and the life of my neighbor to control us as women heads of household. He shot in his yard while impaired in a family neighborhood—Sheriff’s told us not to annoy him and told my friend to keep her children inside the house so he wouldn’t be annoyed. Profoundly dangerous people get guns and commit mass murders in schools, churches, and public places. We need gun laws to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, not to protect the NRA and the wealth of our elected representatives.

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  • Susan
    02/24/2018
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    Yes! This is a prudent and just action that can be taken to help prevent gun violence. I support the 2nd Amanment to the end! And I do not feel as this action would unduly violate the letter and intent if that Amendment but it would give time for evaluating the person and allow a fair action to be taken and save lives!

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  • Breanne
    02/25/2018
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    This needs to be implemented country wide as well as requiring background check for private and gun show sales. Not in addition the ban of semi automatic weapons and the additions making them automatics. It’s time to protect our children!

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  • Hannah
    02/24/2018
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    Red Flag Laws are a step in the right direction and I hope PA enacts this.

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  • Bernie
    02/24/2018
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    A RED flag? Really. Just come out of the closet and throw a sickle and hammer on it. Marxist propaganda. I see a red flag, I’m burning it. With my flamethrower.

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  • Ron
    02/24/2018
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    So the Libertards are against due process but for ending mandatory minimum sentences?....no wonder they can't decide which bathroom to use

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  • rrrmatey
    02/24/2018
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    Yes! This is a great first step. Let’s get these red flag laws in ALL states.

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  • Veterkins
    02/24/2018
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    Horrible idea! I have no problem with someone who is a threat to themselves or someone else being admitted for psychiatric help, but stop taking their personal property in the name of protecting the public. The guns will disappear and end up in some sheriffs collection or destroyed in the name of “protecting the public”. It’s not right to steal their property. Allow for some way to return their property to them should they become stable. You are violating their second and fourth amendment rights.

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  • KansasTamale
    02/23/2018
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    This is a start. BUT a year!???! Anyone deemed unfit should NEVER get guns again & should be put on a NO GUN LIST, just like the NO FLY LIST. Here again this only s start. NO CIVILIAN NEEDS OR SHOULD OWN A GUN LIKE THE AR-15 which destroys people’s body even if the person shooting is a bad shot. People should be limited to a certain number of guns & ammo. Having enough ammo & guns for an entire militia owned by one person who is obviously a civilian is completely ridiculous. So much needs to be done and no one in the government has the intestinal fortitude to do what is needed & necessary.

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  • SneakyPete
    02/23/2018
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    RED FLAG LAWS...... YEA or Nay❓❓ Currently there are only five states that have laws enabling family members, guardians, or police to ask judges to temporarily strip gun rights from people who show warning signs of violence. Supporters of these measures, deemed “red flag laws” or gun-violence restraining orders, say they can save lives by stopping some shootings and suicides. I’d have concerns about the biased determining of either individuals or more importantly categories of individuals having weapons. Medically determined individuals who are found to be “Medically MENTALLY Ill, could be understandably qualified for falling under zither “Red Flag Weapons Denial” considerations. However, I could foresee some elements trying to deny weapons ownership to a number of folks or groups, to meet their political agendas. Not saying that they would, for example, having individuals over say 80 years of age, to be denied weapons ownership. Of course this would be ridiculous even considering, but just a silly example of what could be considered. I’d be strongly in support of the requirement to have background checks on ALL firearms purchases be made at all trade shows which are selling firearms including all, hand guns, long guns and weapons which be adapted/converted to fire automatically. Of particular concern is that legislation would be passed banning the Saale and use of “BumpFiring Adapters/Devices” will have been past posthaste by Congress. 2*23*18. SEE: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8016495-181/california-among-5-states-with

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  • ManfromNebraska
    02/24/2018
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    Red flag laws sound way to subjective and could possibly be misused.

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