Red Flag Laws States 2022

In the U.S., red flag laws authorize police or family members to petition state courts to temporarily remove firearms from a person deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

The order can also bar the person from purchasing guns. This typically occurs when relatives or friends are concerned about a loved one who has discussed suicide or harming others and is in possession of firearms.

The order can also bar the person from purchasing guns. This typically occurs when relatives or friends are concerned about a loved one who has discussed suicide or harming others and is in possession of firearms.

Provisions for such laws vary state-to-state on matters such as who can initiate the process, if a warrant is required, what factors are considered for the firearms to be removed from posseessions, how long the guns are restricted, and the process by which the individual may regain access to the guns.

The length of time that guns are restricted under these extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) depends on the circumstances and can usually be extended.

Support for Red Flag Laws

Red flag laws are believed to help prevent mass shootings and suicides. Almost two-thirds (61%) of U.S. gun deaths between 2008 and 2017 were suicides. Many believe that red flag laws could potentially prevent suicide. This benefit is considered to be more valuable than preventing mass shootings.

According to an APM survey, about 77% of Americans support family-initiated extreme risk protection orders and 70% support law enforcement-initiated ERPOs. Levels of support for ERPOs differs in several ways: women are more likely than men to support ERPOs (83% vs. 70%); higher educational attainment is associated with high levels of support for ERPOs, and a higher portion of metropolitan residents support ERPOs than do rural residents.

While support percentages vary slightly across parties, a large majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents support ERPOs.

78% of Democrats support police-initiated orders and 85% support family-initiated, compared to 66% and 70% respectively among Republicans). Additionally, a majority of gun owners support ERPOs: 60% support police-initiated ERPOs and 67% support family-initiated ERPOs.

What States Have Red Flag Laws?

Only 20 states, including the District of Columbia, have enacted some form of Red Flag Law and 13 states have seen similar legistlation stalled, defeated, or vetoed.

Before the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, only five states had red flag laws: Connecticut, Indiana, California, Washington, and Oregon. As of April 2020, 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted a red flag law.

The states that added red flag legislation in 2018 are Florida, Vermont, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Illinois, District of Columbia, New York, Colorado, Nevada, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Virginia.

Other states have enacted laws in place of “red flag laws.” These include Maine’s “yellow-flag laws” that will temporarily remove arms from people deemed to pose a threat to themselves and others. Only police can file this motion, and it requires an immediate medical assessment before it even goes to a judge.

Oklahoma is the only U.S. state that has an anti-red flag law. In 2020, Oklahoma legistlature passed a law that specifically “prohibits the state or any city, county, or political subdivision from enacting red flag laws.” This creates two barriers to ever getting similar laws passed in the state.

Red Flag Laws States 2022