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New “Red Flag” Gun Laws Passed in 8 States

After the multiple recent mass shootings, politicians and activists are on the lookout for any way to reduce the Second Amendment rights of the American public.

Such is the case with the new “red flag” gun laws that recently passed in 3 additional states. These laws are meant to help keep the public safe by allowing friends and family members to recommend that someone have a gun removed from their possession if it is felt that the individual is unstable or a risk to others. With laws already passed in eight states and more than a dozen additional states with similar laws under consideration, let’s break down what these laws mean for your gun rights.

These laws are technically named “extreme risk protection order” laws, and they enable law enforcement officers to forcibly remove guns from the possession of individuals who are deemed a risk to themselves or others. The basis of the laws is that the individuals who are closest to you may see something that makes them concerned — these laws provide an outlet to the concerned family members without forcing a confrontation, which could end up being deadly. Of course, it doesn’t account for the possibility that someone could simply hold a grudge, and place a complaint out of pure spite.

Law enforcement officials are also able to initiate the process of weapon removal by going to court and requesting an order for removal of weapons from the individual that is considered a risk. While the laws aren’t infallible, there are strict requirements that proof must be shown before the order will be approved by a judge. This temporary removal of weapons from the risky individual’s possession can last from several weeks up to a full year.

As the most recent state to implement the red flag gun laws, Maryland is seeing a significant amount of activity in the courts around this new edict. In the first month that the new law was in effect, there were over one hundred requests for firearms to be removed from an individual’s possession. However, only about a third of these requests were granted through court action, restricting the ability of those individuals to purchase or own a firearm for up to a full year. It’s thought that many of these requests were prompted after concerns around the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting earlier this year in Florida.

In the wake of mass shootings, it’s not uncommon for there to be questions about whether the shooting was unexpected or if there were some sort of red flags that should have triggered friends or family members to notify law enforcement that there was a cause for concern. While many laws that limit Second Amendment rights to bear arms should be viewed with the utmost skepticism, this particular law gives us all reason to pause and consider whether this might be a step towards appropriate legislation. Or not.

~ Firearm Daily


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