Kamala Harris Wants To See Red Flag Laws Enforced.

Photo: Pixabay, This red flag is a warning of dangerous conditions to bathers.
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Red flag laws were laws in the United Kingdom and the United States enacted in the late 19th century, requiring drivers of early automobiles to take certain safety precautions, including having a man walking in front of a car waving a red flag in front of the vehicle as a warning to pedestrians and horsedrawn traffic.

Vice President Harris on Saturday made a push for the use of red flag laws when she visited Parkland, Fla., where one of the deadliest school shootings on record in the United States happened in 2018.

But this type of red flag law is very different, and is all to do with stopping certain people with mental health or criminal records from getting their hands on guns before they commit crimes.

“One of the reasons I’m here is to challenge every state: Pass a red flag law,” Harris said.

Close to half of U.S. states have created programs known as red flag laws that allow officials to temporarily take firearms from people who might pose a threat. According to Harris, the laws — which are opposed by many gun rights groups and activists — give communities a way to intervene proactively “before a tragedy occurs.”

While in Parkland, Harris walked the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with family members of some of the 17 victims killed in a  mass shooting  by a deranged youth in 2018.

The building where it happened is set to be demolished this summer.

Harris oversees the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

She is also a point person for Democrats for key groups the party needs to turn out to vote in November, including young voters, women and voters of color. Gun violence is an important issue for these groups of voters.

In Parkland, Harris announced a new effort from the White House for states to make greater use of red flag laws, which can be used to prevent shootings by temporarily removing guns from owners who pose a danger to themselves or others.

In total, 21 states and the District of Columbia have red flag laws, including Florida, which passed one in the wake of the Parkland shooting. These laws allow people to seek court orders known as extreme risk protection orders.

Under Florida’s red flag law, law enforcement can get judicial approval to confiscate, for up to a year, the firearms of a person deemed a danger to themselves or others. It is estimated that 90 percent of cases the order is agreed to by the respondent.

To get an order in Florida, police agencies must file a request with a civil court, citing serious mental illness or threats a person has made. If the judge agrees, the person must surrender their firearms to police.

Within two weeks, a hearing is held during which the judge decides whether to take the person’s weapons away for a year. Police agencies can apply for an extension if there is evidence a person remains a threat after a year. If not, the guns are returned.

The Florida red flag law was used about 6000 times between 2018 and 2022, so about 1500 times per year on average.

“Only six have taken up the offer we have made through our administration of federal resources for training and implementation,” she said. “We’ve got some resources.”

Harris announced the creation of a new national resource center to provide training and technical assistance to states, local governments, law enforcement and health care providers using the laws.

“These are just some of the ways that we can learn from what happened here,” Harris said.

Sources: NPR. Wikipedia.
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