‘We need to have the power to take that person and bring them before mental health professionals…’
(Brendan Clarey, Liberty Headlines) In the aftermath of the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Democrat and Republican lawmakers across the country have come out in favor of new laws that would allow courts to prevent people that display certain “warning signs” from legally accessing guns.
These laws, called “red flag laws,” allow courts to bar people who “temporarily strip gun rights from people who show warning signs of violence,” according to the Associated Press.
Five states have such laws: California, Connecticut, Indiana, Oregon and Washington.
But after the recent violence, legislators on both sides of the aisle are pushing to impose these laws in more places.
Broward County, Fla. Sheriff Steve Israel told reporters Thursday that police officers should be able to take people who display aggressive tendencies to medical professionals involuntarily.
“Give police the power, if they see something on social media, if they see graphic pictures of rifles and blood and gore and guns and bombs, if they see something with horrific language, if they see a person talking about, ‘I want to grow up to be a serial killer,’ — we need to have the power to take that person and bring them before mental health professionals at that particular time, involuntarily, and have them examined,” said Israel, according to CNS News.
Israel said that these measures are invasive but protect citizens.
“People are going to be rightfully so concerned about their rights, as am I,” Israel continued. “But what about the rights of these students? What about the rights of young kids who go to school with book bags and pencils, don’t they have the right to be protected by the United States government to the best of our ability? And that’s what we’ll be doing.”
Senator Marco Rubio endorsed “red flag laws” in a CBS interview on Sunday morning, saying that the law could have prevented the most recent violence.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush also came out on Sunday night in support of the legislation with a tweet that linked a National Review article, and said: “18-year-olds should not be able to buy Semi Auto Weapons. More money for mental health. And more freeway for mental health profs to work with law enforcement.”
Other states have considered these laws in the past, but recent events may spur bills through various state governments.
Michigan, for example, introduced a bill in 2017 that would provide police the ability to request an “extreme risk protection order,” according to local Michigan news WLNS 6.
“The court may issue an extreme risk protection order if the court determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant poses a significant risk of personal injury to himself or herself or others by possessing a firearm,” Michigan House Bill 4706 reads.
The bill allows for the court to grant the order without warning as long as law enforcement provide evidence that without the order, harm will occur.
“The court … may issue an extreme risk protection order without written or oral notice to the defendant if the court determines that clear and convincing evidence has been submitted under oath or affirmation that irreparable injury will result from the delay required to effectuate notice or that the notice will itself precipitate adverse action before an extreme risk protection order can be issued.”