How do Red Flag Laws Work?
We’ve been talking a lot about red flag laws recently and we’ve been getting questions about them. One of the most common questions we hear from veterans is how do red flag laws work?
Red flag laws are designed to preemptively and proactively protect those who may be a danger to themselves and/or to others from gun violence. To enact a red flag temporary restraint, family members or police can petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person’s possession. The judge will make a determination as to the validity of the claims and the potential for harm.
Red flag seizures are intended to be a temporary — an effort to perhaps allow a person to calm down after an initial triggered reaction to a stressor, for example. After a set period of time passes, a cooling off period, the judge can then return the firearm(s) to the person in question. Alternatively in the presence of continued threat, a hearing may be enacted to continue the confiscation.
PTSD Gun Confiscation: Are Red Flag Laws a Threat to Veterans?
Staunch 2nd Amendment supporters have pushed back on this concept, as the red flag law allows family members and close associates to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from a person’s possession. This, these supporters say, is a violation of that Constitutional right.
We’ve heard concern among veterans that laws like these can be used to target veterans, especially those suffering from PTSD. Are these laws really just a method for legal PTSD gun confiscation? Some veterans believe so and are worried about local governments infringing on their 2nd Amendment rights, especially in rural parts of the United States.
Red States Showing Support for Red Flag Laws
Recent studies done in conservative (red) states such as Texas show a surprisingly strong percentage of support for red flag laws. A poll conducted by University of Texas/Texas Tribune on the concept of temporary firearm surrender showed 72% of respondents strongly supported or somewhat supported this notion. Diving a bit deeper, 60% of Republicans polled for this study responded with support for red flag laws, while 28% of Republican respondents showed opposition.
These observations tell a deeper story than the reflexive “no gun control” reaction that many conservatives seem to be known for. When asked about more specific policies that can help prevent gun violence, more support can be found, noted Texas Politics Project polling and research manager Josh Blank.
Though most initial support for these types of policies comes from the Democrats in office, studies and polls like the one conducted in Texas show a larger amount of support from Americans of all affiliations. In addition, gun safety has become a more closely followed state-level issue, as gun control advocates have lobbied for stricter regulations at this level.
While both sides remain at a virtual stalemate regarding blanket restrictions and stricter legislation, more in-depth policies, such as red flag laws, seem to garner more pragmatic responses.