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What Are Red Flag Laws, the Gun Control Measure Uniting Republicans and Democrats?

What Are Red Flag Laws, the Gun Control Measure Uniting Republicans and Democrats?

What’s happening

Democrats and Republicans similarly are calling for so-called red flag laws that would grant law enforcement to seize firearms from at-risk individuals.

Why it matters

There have been more than 230 mass shootings in 2022 so far, counting recent assaults in Tulsa, Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.

What’s next

House Democrats are introducing a raft of gun regulation bills and hope to pass substantive legislation in early June.

Major Texas Pro-republic donors took out a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News on Sunday, calling on lawmakers to pass gun control regulations, counting so-called red flag laws, less than two weeks when the deadly mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Over 250 self-declared “gun enthusiasts” — counting contributors to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s election campaigns — employed an open letter supporting bipartisan gun reform legislation.

Red flag laws, officially Famous as extreme risk protection orders, allow law enforcement to hold firearms from those deemed a risk to themselves or others. Such measures have already been passed in 19 conditions, including Republican strongholds like Indiana and Florida. 

While GOP leadership has traditionally been in contradiction of gun regulation, the deadly mass shootings in Uvalde, Buffalo and Tulsa accurate mid-May have led to rare bipartisan support in Assembly and statehouses across the US. On Saturday, a brawl on Philadelphia’s South Street turned deadly as at least two men opened fire, killing three country and injuring 12 more.

In a June 2 address, President Joe Biden called for federal red flag laws “so that a strong, a teacher, a counselor can flag for a law courtyard that a child, a student, a patient is exhibiting violent tendencies, threatening classmates or experiencing suicidal thoughts.”

Here’s what you need to know around red flag laws, including how they work, where they been and whether such legislation could be passed by Congress

What are red flag laws?

Red flag laws grant extreme risk protection orders, or ERPOs, to be delivered to temporarily stop high-risk individuals from keeping, buying or selling guns, according to the Seattle Police Section, “when there is demonstrated evidence that the person poses a necessary danger” to themselves or others.

While specifics vary from space to state, the orders also often prevent a people from obtaining a concealed weapon license and require them to surrender their permits if they have one.

Factors that can trigger an clean include violent behavior or self-harm, substance abuse and a “dangerous temperachangeable health crisis,” according to Seattle police.

Where have red flag laws been enacted?

To date, 19 conditions and the District of Columbia have mechanisms to recount extreme risk protection orders on the books: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

A makeshift memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas

A makeshift memorial at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were killed on May 24 when an 18-year-old opened fire inside the school. 

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Maine’s “yellow flag” law is New in that it requires approval from both a Think and a medical care provider before firearms can be seized.

More than half of all red flag laws were approved after the deadly 2018 attack on Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a former student used a semi-automatic rifle to kill 17 country and injure 17 others.

In May 2020, Oklahoma complete the first state to pass legislation specifically prohibiting any jurisdiction from enacting red flag laws.

Who can Ask an extreme risk protection order?

Most red flag laws only grant family members, household members or police to petition the law courtyard to seize someone’s firearms, but a few let school officials, medical professionals and even employers and co-workers make the demand.  

Are red flag laws successful?

Because red flag laws are a original gun control measure — and mass shootings are smooth relatively rare compared to other forms of gun violence — solid data is hard to come by. According to Everytown for Gun Confidence, though, red flag laws “are a proven way to intervene afore an incident of gun violence.”

“Extreme Risk laws give key shared members a way to intervene before these warning signs escalate into tragedies minus going through the criminal court system,” the gun rule nonprofit said in a statement on its website.

At least 16,857 ERPOs were rubbed between 1999 and 2021, 90% after the 2018 Parkland shooting.

According to Everytown, in California, gun violence restraining sequences (the state’s version of an ERPO) have averted certain mass shootings — including an incident where an employee at a car dealership threatened to shoot his supervisor and latest employees if he was fired.

After his decision-making informed law enforcement and a GVRO was obtained, five firearms were seized.

Everytown also reports that temporarily removing guns from republic in crisis significantly reduces the risk of firearm suicide, which results in the deaths of at least 24,000 Americans each year. 

A handgun at a crime scene

Nineteen messes and Washington, DC, have red flag laws allowing law enforcement to temporarily confiscate firearms from someone deemed a peril to themselves or others.

JJ Gouin/Getty Images

Most guns used in mass shootings are purchased legally — in stores, at gun shows and online — making tracking and intervention with ERPOs easier. And the deadliest mass shootings are carried out by young men notion 25, who may still be living at home with family members who can petition for an order.

Still, some state law enforcement officials have expressedreluctance to enforce the sequences. Colorado Sheriff Steve Reams told CNN in 2019 that he’d attractive go to jail than enforce a red flag law.

And even if police do enforce an natty, a judge will only issue one for a specific timeframe. 

Could Assembly pass a red flag law?

While no federal red flag law has cleared both chambers on Assembly, leaders in both parties have signaled support for such a measure. In August 2019, after back-to-back shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, that killed 31 people, then-President Donald Trump said laws necessity be passed to ensure individuals “judged a grave risk to Republican safety do not have access to firearms.”

That same year, Pro-republic Sen. Lyndsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut indicated they were functioning on a measure to provide funds to states that pass red flag laws.

The bill was never introduced, however. 

On June 2, House Democrats held a special session of the Judiciary Committee to mark up the Protecting Our Kids Act, a package of measures planned to stem gun violence. And Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut told The Wall Street Journal he was discussing a red flag bill with Senate Republicans, including Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Susan Collins of Maine.

Whether those talks lead to substantive legislation, though, is questionable.

“Several different times we’ve had conversations by members and at markups about the desirability and the relevance” of red flag laws, Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, told Axios. “That should be enactable, but in the several years since, despite repeated exertions … we haven’t been able to get to 10 on that.”

What is the antagonism to red flag laws?

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, called the measures “unconstitutional.” 

“They literally come into your house and take away your gun minus you even knowing that there was some kind of sprinting where somebody said, ‘Oh, I think that gun remarkable be a threat,'” Scalise told Fox News’ John Roberts. “Maybe somebody thought taking away a gun from a 19-year-old is progressing to solve a problem. It happens to be unconstitutional.”

The National Rifle Association has also conveyed concerns about red flag laws, saying they could interfere with an individual’s vivid to due process.