House passes red flag law, but faces tough road in Senate

JThe House on Thursday passed legislation to nationalize red flag laws, which allow law enforcement to seize a firearm and prevent the purchase of firearms or ammunition if a person is considered to pose a risk to themselves or others.

The measure passed 224-202, with five Republicans – Representatives Anthony Gonzalez (OH), Adam Kinzinger (IL), Fred Upton (MI), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) and Chris Jacobs (NY) – voting in favor of the measure and one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), voting against.

The bill follows the May 14 shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 people dead; the May 24 school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 children and two teachers; the June 1 medical center shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which left five people dead; and a mass shooting on South Street in Philadelphia that left three dead, with supporters saying there was a need to reduce gun violence.

The federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act — led by Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA), who lost her son to gun violence — includes language allowing law enforcement, a person’s family and household members to apply for an ERPO to prevent the purchase and allow the temporary removal of a firearm until the order expires. The senses. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) previously introduced the bill in the Senate.


Proponents of the legislation argue that Second Amendment rights are protected “by high evidentiary standards, the opportunity to be heard, the right to counsel, and penalties for those who file frivolous petitions.”

“The Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act is a bill that would empower loved ones and law enforcement to help prevent mass shootings before they happen. Every family and every community in our country deserves access to these lifesaving measures. No child, no parent deserves to live in fear of gun violence, and we are paying the price,” McBath said on the floor.

Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have red flag laws in place.

Critics of the bill argue that it fails to protect the right to due process and could lead to a violation of the Second Amendment.

“It would allow the courts to take weapons away from people without notice and without even the right to appear in court to defend themselves in court,” said Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA). “Now the other side is going to tell you, and you’ll hear in the argument here – ‘Hey, there’s due process, don’t worry.’ They’ll say that because people go through this process, they just have to go to court and ask to get their guns back, but I’m going to tell my colleagues about one thing that every law student freshman learns: due process after the fact is not due process at all.”


The bill faces a surge in the Senate, with conservative lawmakers unlikely to back the measure.

Its passage follows the House’s passage on Wednesday of a list of gun control measures that are not expected to see a move in the upper house.

A bipartisan group of senators has expressed optimism that agreement will be reached on a narrower bill aimed at curbing mass shootings that can garner the support needed to overcome the filibuster.