RED FLAG LAWS SAVE LIVES. A RFL would temporarily remove a gun from an individual who was undergoing stress due to personal, partner or marital difficulties. RFL are issued through a judge and owners have the right of appeal. Guns are returned when the high stress time has passed.
Police say RFL are “an important tool” in saving lives and addressing gun violence prevention. Indiana saw a 7.5% reduction in suicides after they instituted a RFL. Connecticut saw a 13.7% reduction. A study indicated that for every 10-20 risk warrants issued (Extreme Risk Protective Orders or RFL), one life was saved. Protect Minnesota cites a gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to shoot a family member than for self defense. A gun in the home makes it 5 times more likely that a woman will be murdered by an abusive domestic partner. Gun violence is the second leading cause of death of all children and youth in the USA. A study by the University of California-Davis indicates that 21 mass murders were thwarted by enforcement of the states’ RFL. Firearms are the most common suicide method according to NIMH.
Yet, there are naysayers. Facts and data are irrelevant. “60 Minutes” reported on RFL happenings in Colorado. The Colorado Legislature passed a RFL which was signed by the governor. Objecting to the law, one half of the counties declared themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries. Speaking on behalf of the movement, law enforcement said “Politicians are trying to corral people by taking aim at individual responsibility. We have taken an oath to support the Constitution. [RFL are an affront to] illegal search and seizure. We need to deal with the person’s mental health issues.” Hence, they are refusing to enforce RFL requests.
A sheriff who supports RFL asks, “What does the Second Amendment mean? Everybody can carry a gun?”
Significant studies support Red Flag Laws or Extreme Risk Protective Orders SAVE LIVES! Presently, 17 states have such a law on the books. Minnesota does not. The usual argument for opposing RFL is that it infringes on individual rights and violates ones’ Second Amendment rights. What is over-looked is that the weapon(s) can be returned and the law is meant to prevent harm to oneself and others. It is a temporary “respite time” according to a Colorado law enforcement officer.
After Cain had killed his brother, Abel, he asked, “Am I my brothers keeper?” RFL, ERPO laws, are a statment that we are each others’ keepers.
Rev. Dr. Ron Letnes