Everytown for Gun Safety
Partner Policy

Empower Family Members and Law Enforcement to Prevent Gun Violence by Enacting Red Flag Laws

When a person is in crisis, loved ones and law enforcement are often the first to see warning signs that they may pose a serious threat to themselves or others. Red Flag Laws can help prevent gun violence, including mass shootings and firearm suicides, by empowering family and law enforcement to act on warning signs and seek help from a court to remove guns from dangerous situations.

These laws work by allowing family and/or law enforcement to petition a court to get a civil restraining order, often called an extreme risk protection order. Extreme risk protection orders can be issued when a court determines, based on the available evidence, that a person represents a serious threat to themselves or others. Extreme risk protection orders prohibit a person temporarily from buying or having guns and require them to turn in guns they already have to be held while the order is in effect.

Full orders generally last up to one year. In an emergency, when there is an imminent risk of violence, these laws allow temporary orders to be issued immediately, before a hearing, with a full hearing following swiftly, usually within 14 – 21 days. Extreme Risk Protection orders are designed to protect due process and creates no criminal record. These laws fill a gap in our gun laws and provide a critical tool that can be used by family and law enforcement to deescalate dangerous situations allowing critical time to get someone the help they need.

The National Landscape

Passed in:

California (123), Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana (12345), Maryland, Massachusetts (12), New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington (1234)

Introduced in:

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii (12), Iowa (12), Kansas (12), Kentucky (12), Maine, Michigan, Minnesota (12), Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania (12), Tennessee, Utah, Virginia

In The News

“Broadwater L. Sheriff: Maryland's 'red flag' law prompted gun seizures after four 'significant threats' against schools.”
“Lipscomb J. Florida's post-Parkland "Red Flag" law has taken guns from dozens of dangerous people.”

Partners

  • Law Enforcement
  • Suicide Prevention Groups

Opposition

  • Gun lobby organizations
Call us for real-time support using this library, problem-solving tips, and follow-up from our team of national experts:
The State Line
1-833-
STATES-1

FAQ

Who does this help?
Red Flag laws help protect the personal safety of individuals while also protecting public safety more broadly. These laws also help empower family members and law enforcement, giving them a critical tool they can use to intervene when a person is showing warning signs of violence.
How does this work?
Red Flag laws are civil restraining orders, similar to domestic violence restraining orders. They establish a court process that allows family members or law enforcement, when a person poses a risk to themselves or others, to request a court order that temporarily prohibits a person from buying or having guns and requires them to turn guns they already have to be held. These orders are flexible tools that create a comprehensive legal process to remove guns from crisis situations.
What impact does this have?
Red Flag laws can be used to prevent gun violence generally, but they can be used to prevent two particularly troublesome aspects of the United States gun violence epidemic: firearm suicides and mass shootings. In Maryland and Florida, which both recently enacted Red Flag laws, reports indicate that orders have been used to prevent multiple school shootings. In addition, detailed studies of the impact of Red Flag laws on firearm suicide show that these laws have led to a fourteen percent decrease in firearm suicide rates in Connecticut and a nearly 8 percent decrease in Indiana.

Model Policy

Coming soon