Red Flag Gun Laws Offer The Best of Both Worlds

Jack Pifer, Staff Writer

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Gun laws have been the center of debate throughout the country in the 18 months following the Parkland shooting. Illinois is no different.

The addition of the Red Flag law, also known as the Firearms Restraining Order Act, to an ever increasing number of firearm safety mandates, comes as no surprise considering the millions petitioning for stricter gun laws.

The Red Flag law allows for family members, dating partners or someone who lives with an individual to file a petition to temporarily restrict the individual from owning or buying firearms if a judge considers them an “immediate and present danger” to themselves or others.

It is simple to see how this law could prevent gun deaths in suicides as well as shootings. USA Today and CBS News reported a decrease in the number of gun related suicides in states with Red Flag Laws.

Indiana had a 7.5% decrease in the first 10 years of its passing and Virginia had a 13.7% decrease since 2007. Statistics from USA today show the 5 most populous states have a form of Red Flag Laws and are all in the bottom 50% of firearm deaths per 100,000 people. Given the preponderance of evidence it is quite possible that allowing friends and family to act on their concerns may have prevented shootings such as Parkland’s.

While critics of the Red Flag Law claim it may easily be abused, the court must find probable cause for firearm seizure, which includes reckless use of firearms, previous arrests and threats of violence. Additionally, anyone who is faced with allegations has the opportunity to defend themselves before a court to determine whether or not to continue their firearm suspension.

According to The Washington Post, after Maryland passed its own Red Flag Law, the following months saw less than half of all gun seizure requests approved. As one can see, the system of checks ensures that the law is not abused.

The case by case protocol of the Red Flag Law protects the average citizen while upholding our nation’s 2nd amendment. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the safety of our country. Policies such as this seem to give the best of both worlds for people on opposing ends of the gun rights debate, providing safety without stripping away constitutional rights.