Reed Helps Lead Bipartisan Push to Enact Red Flag Safety Proposal to Prevent Gun Violence
WASHINGTON, DC -- In an effort to help prevent gun violence, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Angus King (I-ME), and Rick Scott (R-FL) re-introduced the bipartisan Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act (S. 292), which would dedicate U.S. Department of Justice funds to incentivize states to adopt laws similar to Florida’s “risk protection orders.” The Florida law, similar to a Rhode Island ‘red flag’ law, gives law enforcement the authority to prevent individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing firearms, while still providing due process protections.
Senators Rubio and Reed first introduced this bill in March 2018, following the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“Three years ago, 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland lost their lives and another 17 were injured,” Rubio said. “We can never bring back those we lost and the pain is still raw, but we can — we must — work together to prevent future tragedies. Five weeks after the tragedy, Congress came together in a bipartisan way to pass the STOP School Violence Act and the Fix NICS Act. And just last year, the federal government created the Federal Clearinghouse on School Safety Best Practices. Florida responded as well, creating a risk protection order to help empower law enforcement or family members to use the judicial system to keep guns out of the hands of unstable and potentially violent individuals. That law, which has built in safeguards to protect constitutional rights and requires increased burden of proof, has been used effectively in Florida for the past few years. It serves as a model for other states, and my bipartisan Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act will help incentivize states to follow Florida’s lead. I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to get this bill to the President for his signature.”
“This is about saving lives,” Reed said. “Red flag laws have proven effective in keeping guns away from individuals who have demonstrated clear warning signs of danger to themselves and others. This is a bipartisan, commonsense legal tool that would expand the ability of courts to look at the evidence and temporarily remove firearms from potentially violent people if there is probable cause.”
“As gun violence continues to affect communities and families across the nation, it is critical that Congress find opportunities to build consensus on commonsense ways to prevent harm and protect our rights,” King said. “This bipartisan effort creates a proactive process that can keep guns out of the hands of people who are displaying signs of emotional or mental distress, while still protecting Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation, and will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address the scourge of gun violence.”
“The tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the 17 innocent lives lost that day will never be forgotten, and I will never stop working to protect our families and prevent any further tragedies,” Scott said.
- Creates an Extreme Risk Protection Order Grant Program at the Department of Justice.
- Makes states enacting qualifying laws eligible for funding to help implement such laws, as well as priority consideration for Bureau of Justice Assistance discretionary grants.
- Requires that a qualifying state law be in compliance with the minimum requirements described in the act, including:
- Providing a process where a law enforcement officer or family member of an individual can petition for – and after notice and hearing a court can grant – an Extreme Risk Protection Order if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that such individual poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others by possessing or purchasing a firearm.
- The duration of such order may not exceed 12 months but may be renewed upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence it remains warranted.
- Respondent has the right to request a hearing to vacate an order or renewal.
- Providing a process where a Temporary Ex Parte Extreme Risk Protection Order can be issued if a court finds probable cause to believe that an individual poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or herself or others in the near future by possessing or purchasing a firearm.
- Establishing a felony criminal offense for knowingly making a false statement relating to an Extreme Risk Protection Order regarding a material matter.
- Requiring clear processes and instructions for the surrender of a respondent’s firearms should an Extreme Risk Protection Order be issued, as well as clear processes and instructions for the swift return of such firearms upon expiration or successful motion to vacate an order.
- Requiring that an issuance of an Extreme Risk Protection Order be reported to the appropriate federal, state, and tribal databases.