Definition: The “Red flag gun law” is a gun violence law that permits police and family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms of a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.
In March 2018, Senate Bill 1101 was a proposed Missouri Red Flag Law that was part of a broader bill that would have increased penalties for domestic abusers who attempted to purchase guns and criminalized bump stock ownership but the legislation was not adopted. It is difficult to measure the effectiveness of Red flag laws because it is impossible to count mass shootings or other tragedies that have been avoided.
Authorities in states with the laws such as Connecticut, Indiana, Oregon, Washington. New York, Texas, California say that they have seen patterns-upticks in the use of such laws after mass shootings in other places. Public sentiment seems to approve of such laws that they might work, and there are some statistics that indicate a number of threatened suicides have been avoided.
How It Works
A judge makes the determination to issue the order based on statements and action by the gun owner that is being questioned. After a set time the gun may be returned unless other court order extends the order of confiscation. The orders are known as:
- risk protection order
- gun violence restraining orders
- extreme risk protection
Still Progress To Be Made
There are still a few topics of discussion that are still to be decided upon regarding the red flag gun laws, these topics include:
- Judge’s authority to issue an extreme risk protection order in Missouri.
- Police (and/or) family can apply for an order to seize the guns if a person deemed a threat to themselves even if no crime has occurred.
- An order can be issued against a juvenile as the father would have access to firearms in the home, especially if the father not being cooperative with law enforcement.
Restraining orders are options that law enforcement can use even in a person hasn’t been arrested or convicted of any crime. It is usually prompted by calls to police asking prosecutors to intervene.
- Connecticut has seen over 1500 such cases
- California’s new law has resulted in 86 cases
- Florida has seen 450 cases