Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are considering a federal “red flag” gun confiscation law and bolstered background checks after a teenage gunman entered a Texas school and fatally shot 19 children and two teachers.
“Red flag” gun laws are intended to prevent an individual from purchasing or owning a firearm if a judge decides he is a danger to himself or others. It also allows police to confiscate a person’s already legally-owned firearms if such a court order is made.
“I’m going to start having conversations again with colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), according to The Washington Times. “If there is a chance for us to do something to help make it safer for kids in this country, we owe it to the country to do it for real, not just talking points.”
Biden’s DOJ released model “red flag” gun confiscation legislation in June last year, arguing that “by allowing family members or law enforcement to intervene and to petition for these orders before warning signs turn into tragedy, ‘extreme risk protection orders’ can save lives.”
“There are a lot of solid things that will work and we need to look at those and basically get a piece of legislation,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). “We know that we can show we can be united to protect our children. That’s the thing in a nutshell.”
“We have Republicans and Democrats that have the same feelings I have. This is the most excruciating pain that [a family] could ever endure,” Manchin added. “If that doesn’t move you, nothing will.”
Nineteen states, including Florida and Indiana, already have “red flag” gun laws in place, indicating that Republican lawmakers may be open to implementing the rule on a national scale.
“For people who threatened harm to themselves or somebody else, you could only go through law enforcement and you had to go through the courts and it wasn’t permanent,” said Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican who, as governor, signed Florida’s “red flag” legislation into law.
Many Republican lawmakers say gun control is not the solution, arguing that the focus should be on mental health issues and expanding law enforcement.
“I have an interest in grappling with what can be done. I really don’t think the answer is gun control,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). “This happens in states with very, very severe gun control laws and it happens in states that have fewer restrictions.”
In Chicago – which has some of the strictest gun laws in the country – over 250 children were victims of gun violence in 2021, including 41 who were fatally shot, Chicago police told Fox 32.