Flurry Of States Passed Red Flag Laws, But There’s Little Research On Their Impact At Reducing Gun Violence
President Donald Trump and other lawmakers are boosting the idea of red flag laws, which allow loved ones and law enforcement to take guns away from someone they suspect may hurt themselves or others. Although there's strong evidence that they reduce suicides, beyond that little research has been done on such protection orders' effectiveness. Furthermore, psychology experts say a significant number of mass shooters are in their late teens to early 20s, when signs of severe mental illness may not yet be observable.
What Is A Red Flag Law?
‘Red flag’ laws, or Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) allow family members, law enforcement or other third parties to ask a court to temporarily remove a person’s guns if they’re concerned about the individual. If a judge finds that person is dangerous to himself or others, that person must surrender all firearms to the police for a specified period of time. During that period of time, the person is also not allowed to buy or sell guns. (Levinson and Dunn, 8/5)
Dayton Shooting, El Paso Shooting: What Are Red Flag Laws?
The laws vary in different states. In Indiana, only law enforcement can request an order to remove weapons. But in Oregon, any person living with the person they're concerned about can petition the state. According to The Trace, lawmakers on both sides of the debate have embraced red flag policies. Red flag laws have been enacted in 17 states, 12 of which acted after the Parkland high school shooting in Feb. 2018 where 17 people died. The laws have been proposed in four states. (Lawrence, 8/5)
Trump Backs 'Red Flag' Gun Laws. What Do They Actually Do?
Before the Parkland shooting in 2018, five states had such laws: Connecticut (enacted in 1999), Indiana (2005), California (2014), Washington (2016) and Oregon (2017). After that, laws were passed in Florida, Vermont, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington, DC, New York, Nevada, Hawaii and Colorado. Among the states without red flag laws are Texas and Ohio, where this weekend's shootings took place. Opponents of red flag gun laws say they give authorities the right to seize people's guns without due process. (Dezenski, 8/5)
Trump Calls For A 'Red Flag' Gun Law, Which Mass. Has Had For A Year
Massachusetts' red flag law -- enacted last year, months after the Parkland school shooting -- allows a relative or someone else with close ties to a legal gun owner to petition a court for an extreme risk protection order if the individual is exhibiting dangerous or unstable behavior. If granted, the gun owner's firearms can be taken away for up to a year. (Jarmanning, 8/5)
Kaiser Health News:
Trump Wants To Take Guns Away From People In Crisis. Will That Work?
Trump said the shooter in the Parkland, Fla., massacre last year “had many red flags against him, and yet nobody took decisive action; nobody did anything. … We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process.” About half of those who commit mass shootings show warning signs that they were a threat to themselves or others, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for stricter measures to reduce gun violence. (Szabo, 8/5)
Is It Guns Or Mental Illness?
Dr. Knoll and Mr. Annas state that laws focusing on screening out gun ownership for the mentally ill will not solve the problem of mass shootings. “Perpetrators of mass shootings are unlikely to have a history of involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations. Thus, databases intended to restrict access to guns and established by guns laws that broadly target people with mental illness will not capture this group of individuals.” Furthermore, a significant number of mass shooters are in their late teens to early 20s, when signs of severe mental illness may not yet be observable. (Eddy, 8/5)