Pass Federal “Red Flag Law” to Prevent Gun Violence
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As a mother of two in public schools, I'm well aware that the Parkland shooting could've happened anywhere in this country, and that it's more likely to happen in the US than other countries. In Europe, there hasn't been a major high-casualty gun attack on a campus in almost a decade. Whereas in the US they've become commonplace.
Our current federal and state laws focus on background checks and preventing dangerous people from buying firearms. But there are already around 270 million guns owned by US civilians so restricting purchases would have a more long-term effect; not the immediate impact we need.
Five states currently have “red flag laws” that allow the seizure of guns before people can commit violent acts. According to a Washington Post article, these statutes in California, Washington, Oregon, Indiana and Connecticut can be used to temporarily take guns away from people a judge deems a threat to themselves or others. Mental illness, escalating threats, substance abuse and domestic violence are some reasons why a judge can order weapons restrictions under the statutes.
If Florida had a “red flag law”, the Feb 14 school shooting could have been averted. Family members or law enforcement officers could have asked a judge for an “extreme risk protection order” or a “gun violence restraining order” against the 19 year old gunman, based on his violent behavior and threats, and his AR-15 could have been confiscated.
More states are considering “red flag laws” but gun violence protection is a nationwide concern and we should have a federal standard. The NRA has not put up much opposition to the 5 states’ statutes, suggesting that legislation could be passed quickly at the federal level.
Lawmakers, please act now to prevent the next mass shooting.
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