If written correctly, I could support a law like this.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The warnings around Nikolas Cruz seemed to flash like neon signs: expelled from school, fighting with classmates, a fascination with weapons and hurting animals, disturbing images and comments posted to social media, previous mental health treatment.
In Florida, that wasn’t enough for relatives, authorities or his schools to request a judicial order barring him from possessing guns.
Only five states have laws enabling family members, guardians or police to ask judges to temporarily strip gun rights from people who show warning signs of violence. Supporters of these measures, deemed “red flag laws” or gun-violence restraining orders, say they can save lives by stopping some shootings and suicides.
Without red flag laws, the main recourse available to family members is to have a troubled loved one committed to a psychiatric institution. Federal law permanently bans anyone who has been involuntary committed from owning guns, but such actions are more difficult to carry out than red flag laws, which are intended to be quick and temporary and have a lower standard of proof.
The red flag laws act as a sort of timeout, so someone in psychological distress can get counseling while their fitness to possess a gun is evaluated, said Laura Cutilletta, legal director of the Giffords Law Center.
We have rightfully made it very difficult to strip someone of their freedom and commit them to an institution. But there are clearly people out there who are mentally ill, chemically imbalanced, or truly struggling, and there are very few ways to protect society from them until they are stable again. Some middle road – like red flag laws – might be a way to help that. The key is that there needs to be rigorous due process and that process should default to the free access of civil rights.
It’s worth a look.