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Julian Baker
Julian Baker

9. Red Flag __HOT__

The National Weather Service issues Red Flag Warnings to alert fire departments of the onset, or possible onset, of critical weather and dry conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity. Firefighters will raise red flags at fire stations to warn residents of extreme fire weather, as warnings are issued by the National Weather Service.

9. Red Flag

Pay attention to weather conditions. Fire threat is highest on dry, windy days. When the National Weather Service issues a "Red Flag Warning" we will fly red flags on Fire Station flagpoles and send an AC Alert notification. During a Red Flag Warning, avoid any activities that could cause a spark and make sure your household is ready to rapidly evacuate.

However, after the recent back-to-back massacres in El Paso and Dayton that took the lives of 31 people, there is one gun control measure that is garnering bipartisan support: extreme risk protection orders (ERPO), more commonly referred to as "red flag" laws.

For long-term orders, federal courts must consider several factors, including recent threats or acts of violence toward themselves, others or animals, and evidence of ongoing abuse of controlled substances or alcohol that has led to threats or acts of violence. The bill would create a federal grant program to encourage states to adopt red flag laws for state and local courts, a provision authored by Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Calif.

Republican senators such as Roy Blunt of Missouri and Susan Collins of Maine have expressed openness to red flag laws. But talks in the Senate in recent days have revolved around a grant program for states, and less so on a federal law.

In the United States, a red flag law is a gun violence prevention law that permits a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who they believe may present a danger to others or themselves. A judge makes the determination to issue the order based on statements and actions made by the gun owner in question.[1] Refusal to comply with the order is punishable as a criminal offense.[2][3] After a set time, the guns are returned to the person from whom they were seized unless another court hearing extends the period of confiscation.[4][5][6]

Orders issued under "red flag" laws, also called risk-based gun removal laws,[7] are known by several names, including Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) (in Colorado, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington); Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Orders (ERFPO) (in New Mexico); Risk Protection Orders (in Florida); Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs) (in California); Emergency Substantial Risk Orders (ESROs) (in Virginia); risk warrants (in Connecticut); and Proceedings for the Seizure and Retention of a Firearm (in Indiana).[8] As of 2021, 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of red-flag law.[9][10] The specifics of the laws, and the degree to which they are utilized, vary from state to state.[11]

In 1999, Connecticut became the first state to enact a red flag law,[12] after a rampage shooting at the Connecticut Lottery.[13] It was followed by Indiana, which adopted its legislation in 2005; called Jake Laird's Law, it was named after an Indianapolis police officer was fatally shot by a mentally disturbed man.[14][12][15] Subsequent red-flag laws were adopted by California (2014), Washington (2016), and Oregon (2017).[12] The California State Legislature was the first to enact a red flag law allowing family members to petition state courts to remove weapons from persons deemed a threat after Elliot Rodger committed a mass shooting in Isla Vista, California; the California law also permits law enforcement officials to petition the court for an order for the removal of guns from an individual for up to twelve months.[13]

Before 2018, only the above-mentioned five states had some version of red flag laws.[16] After the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, that number more than doubled, as more states enacted such laws:[17][18] Florida,[19] Vermont,[20] Maryland,[21] Rhode Island,[22] New Jersey,[23] Delaware,[24] Massachusetts,[25] Illinois,[26] and the District of Columbia.[27] A content analysis study published in 2022 examined newspaper articles published in 2018 in three states that passed ERPOs after the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida (Florida, Rhode Island, and Vermont) and three states that did not (Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Ohio). The study found that the passage of ERPOs was associated with media coverage that used official policy names/acronyms (as opposed to simply "red flag"); accurately portrayed gun violence as a preventable problem, and that referred to ERPO policies in other states.[28] The survey found that "although only one in four articles cited scientific evidence related to gun violence generally, articles about passing states were significantly more likely to cite the small but growing body of research about ERPO implementation and effectiveness. These findings point to the value of relevant data, likely in combination with the lived experience and advocacy efforts of those most impacted, for building policy momentum through the media."[28]

In 2019, New York enacted a red-flag law as part of a broader package of gun-control legislation that overwhelmingly passed the state legislature.[29][30] In addition to allowing police and family members to petition for entry of an extreme risk protection order,[29][30] the law also allows teachers and school administrations to file such petitions, making New York the first state to include such a provision.[31] Three other states enacted red-flag laws in 2019: Colorado,[32] Nevada[33] and Hawaii.[34][35][36] The Colorado, Nevada, and Hawaii laws all went into effect on January 1, 2020.[37][38][39]

In 2020, New Mexico became the 18th state to adopt a red-flag law, after Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation on February 25, 2020. New Mexico's law went into effect on July 1, 2020.[40][41]

In Virginia, the state's General Assembly, then controlled by Republicans, voted down red-flag legislation in its January 2019 session.[42] After the Virginia Beach shooting later that year, Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, called the Republican-controlled General Assembly into special session to consider gun-control legislation. The legislature did not vote on any gun legislation.[43] After the Democrats won control of both chambers of the General Assembly in the fall 2019 elections, for the first time in more than two decades, Northam vowed to reintroduce gun control proposals, including a red flag bill.[44] The General Assembly subsequently passed an emergency substantial risk order (ESRO) law, on a party-line vote in the Senate[45][46] and a nearly party-line vote in the House of Delegates.[47] Northam signed the legislation into law in April 2020, alongside four separate gun measures.[48][49] Fairfax County, Virginia and the and Alexandria-based gun-violence prevention nonprofit group Safer Country have become leaders in awareness campaigns to inform the public and law enforcement about the use of Virginia's ESRO law.[50][51]

On June 25, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that included several changes to U.S. gun laws, one of which authorizes governments of individual states to receive grants from the federal government if they enact and enforce red flag laws.[76]

A preliminary case series published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2019 analyzed the use of ERPOs in California, and found that the cases studied suggest that California's red-flag law, as a form of "urgent, individualized intervention ... can play a role in efforts to prevent mass shootings."[84]

In light of the fact that 62% of U.S. gun deaths from 2008 to 2017 were suicides, the potential for red flag laws to prevent suicide has been cited as a benefit that may be more valuable than their ability to prevent mass shootings.[89]

States with red-flag laws differ substantially in the rate that such laws were used.[9][90] Nationwide in 2020, red-flag laws were used to remove guns about 5,000 times.[9] The states that used red-flags most often in 2020 were Florida (2,355 uses), California (984), Maryland (476), New Jersey (311), and New York (255).[9] A 2020 analysis found that, adjusted on a per-capita basis and on a per-day-in-effect basis, Florida used its red-flag law the most (9.4 orders per year per 100,000 residents), followed by Maryland (8.2 orders per year per 100,000 residents).[90] One factor in different use rates is whether a state has courts that allow petitioners to seek an order after business hours and on weekends.[90]

In some states, petitions for removal of guns are not filed, even where the facts would support issuance of an orders. For example, in Oregon, the state legislature enacted a red-flag law, but did not allocate funds for public education efforts. Local prosecutors led trainings and outreach for law enforcement, judges, and others.[91]

In 2020 (the first year that Colorado's red-flag law was in effect), Colorado courts issued 115 orders and denied 46 petitions.[94] Most petitions were filed by law enforcement agencies.[94] Colorado has two forms of court orders under the law: a temporary ERPO (TERPO), which has a duration of up to two weeks; and (if the TERPO is granted) a 364-day ERPO (which may be granted by the court after a hearing). In Colorado, petitions filed by law enforcement agencies are far likelier to be granted than petitions filed by family or household members: In the first year that Colorado's law was in effect, 82% of petitions for TERPOs and 85% of petitions for yearlong ERPOs filed by law enforcement were granted by courts; by contrast, 18% of petitions for TERPOs and 15% of petitions for yearlong ERPOs filed by family or household members were granted by courts.[95] 041b061a72


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