Boulder and Atlanta shootings rekindle debate over red-flag gun laws

Back-to-back mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., in less than a week have revived debate over red-flag laws that allow authorities to seize firearms from people considered dangerous to themselves or others, leaving gun-control advocates hopeful that more states will adopt such measures while public attention is still focused on the attacks. The laws, enacted in less than half the country, are among the only firearm policies supported by both gun-control advocates and the gun-rights community, favored largely because they work on a case-by-case basis to prevent imminent violence rather than imposing broad restrictions on firearm owners. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers discussed red-flag laws in a hearing this week on the gun violence epidemic, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she would soon introduce red-flag legislation . A bipartisan group of lawmakers recently floated a similar proposal, and several state legislatures are weighing whether to pass legislation or expand existing policies. In many mass shootings, Feinstein said in the Senate this week, “family members and law enforcement saw warning signs, but they were powerless to stop the shooter from getting a firearm." “Sadly, this is really all too common,” she said. Red-flag laws work by allowing household members or law enforcement officers to seek an “extreme risk protection order” barring a person’s access to guns if they believe they pose an immediate threat to themselves or others. With a judge’s permission, authorities can seize firearms from someone deemed high risk for up to a year in most places. […]

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