Study examines ‘red flag’ gun laws and state efforts to block local legislation

"Red flag" gun laws–which allow law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from a person at risk of harming themselves or others–are gaining attention at the state and federal levels, but are under scrutiny by legislators who deem them unconstitutional. A new analysis by legal scholars at NYU School of Global Public Health describes the state-by-state landscape for red flag legislation and how it may be an effective tool to reduce gun violence, while simultaneously protecting individuals’ constitutional rights. Gun violence is a significant public health problem in the U.S., with more than 38,000 people killed by firearms each year. Following several mass shootings this spring, President Biden urged Congress to pass legislation to reduce gun violence, including a red flag law–also known as a "extreme risk protection order" law–at the federal level and legislation to incentivize states to pass their own. In June, the Department of Justice published model legislation to help states craft their own red flag laws. "Research shows that prior to an attempted suicide or homicide, there are warning signs that a shooter intends to act," said Jennifer Pomeranz, assistant professor of public health policy and management at NYU School of Global Public Health and the lead author of the study, which was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine . "Removing firearms during crisis situations allows for mental health intervention or law enforcement investigation, and can prevent tragedies from occurring." In May 2020, Oklahoma passed the nation’s first law preempting or blocking local governments […]

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