Tomorrow, North Dakota lawmakers will gather at a House Judiciary Committee hearing to discuss House Bill 1537, otherwise known as “Red Flag” legislation.
Red Flag laws empower law enforcement and family members to see a court order to temporarily block a person’s access to guns if they are a danger to themselves or others. Eight states enacted Red Flag laws in the wake of the Parkland shooting, after it emerged that the alleged shooter displayed warning signs before fatally shooting 14 students and three staff members.
Mass shooters often display warning signs before committing violent acts. Red Flag laws empower those who recognize these warning signs to take action to prevent people in crisis from accessing firearms. In addition to its potential for preventing future mass shootings, this type of law has also been found effective in preventing suicides. Following Connecticut’s increased enforcement of its Red Flag law, the law was associated with a 14 percent reduction in the state’s firearm suicide rate.
North Dakota’s Red Flag legislation, introduced by Rep. Karla Rose Hanson (D-Fargo) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, has received support from the State Association of School Resource Officers, the Department of Public Instruction, and North Dakota law enforcement. West Fargo Police Chief Heith Janke indicated his support, saying “This bill would allow us to remove the weapon from the individual while they’re in a mental crisis and before they create a tragedy and become a statistic themselves.”
“This legislation is just plain common sense,” said Cheryl Biller, volunteer with the North Dakota chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “It would help families and law enforcement do everything in their power to protect North Dakotans. I encourage our lawmakers to find common ground and help save lives by advancing this bill.”
If you have any questions concerning Red Flag laws or would like to speak to a North Dakota volunteer with Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out.