Red Flag Laws: Helping Prevent Mass Shootings

Mar 27, 2018
  • Description

Like many mass shooters, the 19-year-old suspected of shooting and killing at least 17 people and injuring 17 others at a high school in Parkland, Florida displayed warning signs prior to the shooting. According to media reports, the alleged shooter was known to have firearms, and his mother had contacted law enforcement regarding his behavior on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, at the time Florida did not have a Red Flag Law—a policy increasingly being adopted by states that empowers family members and law enforcement to seek an Extreme Risk Protection Order, a court order temporarily restricting a person's access to guns when they pose a danger to self or others. Like Florida—which enacted its own Red Flag Law with bipartisan support in March 2018—states around the country are turning to the policy as a common-sense way to help reduce gun violence and gun suicide. Six states have Red Flag Laws in place—and bills are currently pending in another 22 states.

Red Flags Laws can save lives by creating a way for family members and law enforcement to act before warning signs escalate into tragedies.