Red Flag Laws, Also Known as Extreme Risk Laws, Have the Backing of President Biden, Overwhelming Support from the American People, and Bipartisan Support in Congress
This Announcement Followed Yesterday’s Huge Victory for Gun Safety: President Biden Nominated his ATF Director, Announced Life-Saving Executive Actions, and Announced Plans to Release Model State Red Flag Legislation
WASHINGTON — Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements applauding the introduction of the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act in the House of Representatives. The bill, H.R. 2377, is being introduced by Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA). Similar bipartisan legislation was introduced in the 115th Congress by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Red flag laws are one of Everytown’s top legislative priorities for this Congress, and recent polling shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans support them. Yesterday, President Joe Biden reiterated his long standing support for this type of bill at the federal level and announced plans to release model state red flag legislation.
“When someone poses a threat to themselves or others, those closest to them are often the first to see the warning signs, and they need a way to intervene before the worst happens,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We thank Rep. McBath for answering the President’s call to action and introducing this red flag legislation, and we will stand beside her every step of the way as she fights to pass this bill into law.”
“Before most instances of gun violence, there are clear warning signs that a person poses a serious risk to themself or others,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Red flag laws are common sense, constitutional policies with bipartisan support that have helped prevent gun violence tragedies in the states where they’ve been passed. With a gun sense trifecta running our federal government and the NRA sidelined by bankruptcy, we have a historic opportunity to pass this legislation into law at a federal level. This bill is unfinished business for everyone in the gun safety movement, and I’m grateful my good friend Rep. McBath has introduced it.”
In many instances of gun violence, there are clear warning signs that the shooter posed a serious threat before the shooting –– including 54% of mass shootings –– and red flag laws give key community members a way to intervene before these warning signs become tragedies. These laws allow immediate family members and law enforcement to petition a court for an order for the temporary removal of guns from dangerous situations. If a court finds that a person poses a serious risk of injuring themselves or others with a firearm, that person is temporarily prohibited from having guns.
Under current federal law, a person is barred from having guns only if they fall into one of several categories of prohibited persons. A person who displays warning signs that they’re considering suicide or engaging in a violent act, but who is not prohibited under federal law, would still be legally able to buy and possess guns. Red flag laws help to fill this gap, protecting public safety and allowing people in crisis the chance to obtain the help they need.
The mass shooter in the 2018 Parkland school shooting repeatedly displayed threatening behavior prior to the shooting. He was reported to law enforcement on more than one occasion. Following this tragedy, lawmakers across the country have sought to close this gap in their states. Since the beginning of 2018, 14 states and Washington DC have passed Extreme Risk laws, bringing the total number of states with these laws to 19.
Rep. McBath is an incredible advocate for gun safety in Congress. She is former employee of Everytown, volunteer with Moms Demand Action, and survivor of gun violence whose son, Jordan Davis, was murdered in November 2012.