The NRA is feeling the heat from the uprising of teen activists and groups like Moms Demand Action. In a newly released video, NRA spokesman Chris Cox expresses support for “risk protection orders.” Also known as “red flag” laws, they help get guns out of the hands of people at risk to the community or themselves. A brief explainer from CNN:
Such laws — variously known as extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs), gun violence restraining orders and red-flag laws — are in effect in Connecticut (enacted in 1999), Indiana (2005), California (2014), Washington (2016), and Oregon (2017).The laws differ state to state, but they generally allow specific people — law enforcement officers and, in some states, relatives of the person in question — to ask a judge to temporarily prohibit someone from having or buying firearms.This would be based not primarily on criminal history or mental health disqualifications already enshrined in law, but rather over allegations that the person is likely to harm themselves or others.
After combatting these types of laws for years, here is NRA spokesman Chris Cox advocating for extreme-risk protection laws (which you can read more about below). Folks, this is a big deal and the NRA should be applauded for shifting in the direction of reform, however slight the shift might be.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), recently sat for an interview with NPR to discuss the positive impact the extreme-risk protection law has had in Connecticut, one of the few states with such extreme-risk protections. Here is a portion of that interview:
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: The Connecticut experience over the last nearly 20 years has been that these extreme-risk protection orders or red flag really save lives.
HORSLEY: So far, only a handful of states have followed Connecticut’s example – California, Oregon, Washington, Indiana. Florida passed its own red-flag law last week. Now President Trump is urging every state to do so. Kristin Brown of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says without such laws, police are often powerless to stop a would-be killer like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
KRISTIN BROWN: It’s really a slap in the face – the idea that there were so many signs associated with this individual that should’ve meant that he was not able to possess or purchase firearms.
HORSLEY: Dozens of states are considering red-flag laws. Blumenthal says the potential impact is broader than just school shootings.
BLUMENTHAL: These kinds of orders help prevent not just the mass slaughters but also the one-by-one shootings that account for a lot of the 90 deaths every day in the United States as a result of gun violence, including suicide.
HORSLEY: In fact, one of the big success stories in Connecticut has been preventing suicides which account for about two-thirds of all gun deaths in the country. Duke University professor Jeffrey Swanson has studied the Connecticut law and says about 60 percent of the red-flag orders sought are for someone at risk of taking his own life.
As noted in that NPR video, even some Republicans, including Donald Trump, are in favor of these laws. Asking each state to do it doesn’t go far enough, this should be federal legislation.