In the wake of the deadly shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where Nikolas Cruz killed 17 of his fellow students, President Trump is reportedly considering adopting what is known as “red flag” laws, which would allow authorities to confiscate guns from anyone deemed “dangerous,” or as a threat, according to unnamed White House sources.
Bloomberg reported Saturday that these unnamed White House sources say that the president is looking seriously at an Indiana version of the law as one of many possible responses to the tragic shooting last week. Other possibilities include increased background checks and raising the minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21. Gun rights advocacy groups have opposed the background checks and increasing the age limits, but are said to look more favorably on the so-called “red flag” laws because they don’t put further restrictions on otherwise law-abiding gun users.
Indiana is one of five states, according to the Washington Post, which currently has “red flag” laws on the books. The others are California, Washington, Oregon, and Connecticut. Domestic violence, drug abuse, and mental illness are just some of the reasons that can be cited by a judge to confiscate guns from an individual under these laws.
Two Democratic members of Congress from California, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Rep. Salud Carbajal have introduced legislation in the past to encourage states to adopt similar laws, but this legislation has not previously received bipartisan support.
The Washington Post story quoted the executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Joshua Horwitz.
“This morning I heard the [Parkland] sheriff lament the fact that he did not have the tools to remove the firearms from the shooter. Had he lived in one of those states where this law is in place, he would have had the tools, and this shooting may have been averted.”
Many on the left consider the “red flag” laws to be a much more viable alternative to some ideas previously advocated by Trump, such as arming teachers or eliminating gun-free zones on high school campuses.
In an article posted Saturday, The Hill quoted deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah at a press conference on Friday, saying that the Trump administration was taking a look at the “red flag” laws.
“I think some states have had these red-flag laws, for example, that remove firearms after you go to a judge for potentially dangerous individuals. That’s something that’s being done right now in a variety of states, right?”
Participating in a town hall put together by CNN this past week to provide a voice for Florida students affected by the recent shooting, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch said that her organization supports efforts to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals, but according to an article in Salon, the NRA has fought to resist “red flag” laws in every state that they have been introduced. In response to the California law, which was passed after Elliot Rodger’s deadly rampage in Isla Vista in 2014, NRA spokesperson Charles Cunningham said the law was “one of the most egregious violations of civil liberties ever introduced in the California Legislature.”