Community Issues

Senate Considers "Red Flag" Gun Laws

Allows courts to temporarily take guns away from people considered dangerous. Feds could clear way for states to adopt these laws.

A U.S. Senate committee is considering so-called "extreme-risk protection orders" which allow the courts to temporarily take firearms away from people who are considered to be a danger to themselves or others.

The move comes in the aftermath of mass shootings and several recent high-profile suicides. In addition, a growing number of states are already adopting ERPOs or so-called "red flag laws," and other states and municipalities, like Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh, are considering them.


Senator Lindsey Graham suggests that having a federal extreme risk law probably won't fly, but clearing the way for states to pass these measures might be a good idea. "I think passing a federal law is probably beyond what the market will bear." Graham is quoted by NPR as saying. "But creating an incentive at the federal level for states who want to go down this road..." Graham said.

"I think that's the best way, at least initially, to solve this problem." Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-SC

Sparkt wrote in depth about extreme risk protection orders last month (click here ) in the context of Pittsburgh's proposed gun law which city council approved in a preliminary vote today, and which includes extreme risk orders. A final vote is next week.

State Senator Wayne Fontana has also proposed a similar measure on the state level.


Supporters of the laws say they can save lives by taking guns away from people who shouldn't have them. Opponents say the laws violate the second amendment and don't do anything to address the underlying causes of why a person would want to shoot themselves or someone else. Still others say ERPOs don't appear to deter shooters. Breitbart lists 4 recent mass shootings in states where red flag laws are in place.

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