Empower Family Members and Law Enforcement to Prevent Gun Violence by Enacting Red Flag Laws

When a person is in crisis, loved ones and law enforcement are often the first to see warning signs that they may pose a serious threat to themselves or others. Red Flag Laws can help prevent gun violence, including mass shootings and firearm suicides, by empowering family and law enforcement to act on warning signs and seek help from a court to remove guns from dangerous situations. These laws work by allowing family and/or law enforcement to petition a court to get a civil restraining order, often called an extreme risk protection order. Extreme risk protection orders can be issued when a court determines, based on the available evidence, that a person represents a serious threat to themselves or others. Extreme risk protection orders prohibit a person temporarily from buying or having guns and require them to turn in guns they already have to be held while the order is in effect. Full orders generally last up to one year. In an emergency, when there is an imminent risk of v...

Frequently Asked Questions
Who does this help?
Red Flag laws help protect the personal safety of individuals while also protecting public safety more broadly. These laws also help empower family members and law enforcement, giving them a critical tool they can use to intervene when a person is showing warning signs of violence.
How does this work?
Red Flag laws are civil restraining orders, similar to domestic violence restraining orders. They establish a court process that allows family members or law enforcement, when a person poses a risk to themselves or others, to request a court order that temporarily prohibits a person from buying or having guns and requires them to turn guns they already have to be held. These orders are flexible tools that create a comprehensive legal process to remove guns from crisis situations.
What impact does this have?
Red Flag laws can be used to prevent gun violence generally, but they can be used to prevent two particularly troublesome aspects of the United States gun violence epidemic: firearm suicides and mass shootings. In Maryland and Florida, which both recently enacted Red Flag laws, reports indicate that orders have been used to prevent multiple school shootings. In addition, detailed studies of the impact of Red Flag laws on firearm suicide show that these laws have led to a fourteen percent decrease in firearm suicide rates in Connecticut and a nearly 8 percent decrease in Indiana.
Partners
  • Law Enforcement
  • Suicide Prevention Groups
Opposition
  • Gun lobby organizations
Model Policy
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SECTION 1 (TITLE):
This act shall be known as the
SECTION 2 (PURPOSE):
SECTION 3 (PROVISIONS):