14 States Now Have ‘Red Flag’ Laws Allowing Gun Seizures

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Photo by Rod Waddington via Flickr.

In the year since the Parkland, Fl., school shooting, more states have passed laws making it easier to take guns away from people who may be suicidal or bent on violence against others, reports the Associated Press.

Courts are issuing an unprecedented number of seizure orders. Advocates say “red flag” laws are among the most promising tools to reduce the nearly 40,000 firearm suicides and homicides each year in the U.S. Gun advocates protest that the laws undermine their constitutional rights and can result in people being stripped of their weapons on false or vindictive accusations.

Nine states have passed laws in the past year allowing police or household members to seek court orders requiring people deemed threatening to surrender their guns, bringing the total to 14. Several more are likely to follow in the months ahead.

More than 1,700 orders allowing guns to be seized for weeks, months or up to a year were issued in 2018 after judges determined the individuals were a threat to themselves or others, according to data from several states compiled by AP.

The actual number is probably much higher because the data didn’t include California.

The laws gained momentum after it was learned that Nikolas Cruz, the man accused in the Florida attack, was widely known to be mentally troubled yet had access to weapons, including the assault-style rifle used to kill 17 students and staff members last Valentine’s Day at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Florida passed a red flag law after the shooting.

New York, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont also have adopted variations since then. California, Connecticut, Indiana, Oregon and Washington already had similar laws.

Additional Reading:

Could Red Flag Laws Reduce Gun Violence Among the Elderly?

Red Flags Laws Have an Impact, But Not on Mass Murder

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