In response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that left at least 21 dead, several Republican senators have signalled they are open to red-flag gun laws.
Red-flag legislation allows someone to report a person if they think that person might be a danger to himself or others. If the court deems that person a risk then they will have to turn in all firearms and will be prohibited from further interaction with firearms until they can prove otherwise. If the person chooses not to voluntarily give up their weapons, then a judge can issue an order to take the guns of the individual. Such laws already exist in at least 19 states.
Other laws currently being discussed include increasing the legal age limit or requiring a special license to obtain semi-automatic weapons.
Republican senators who have signaled being open to red-flag legislation include Susan Collins (ME), John Cornyn (TX), Mike Braun (IN), and Rick Scott (FL).
“I believe that we should look at enacting a red-flag law based on the one we have in Maine, which has due process rights and involves a medical professional in the decision,” Collins said Tuesday. “I don’t know the details of the shooter, but it’s hard to believe he wasn’t mentally ill.”
Sen. John Cornyn met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday where McConnell encouraged him to engage in bipartisan discussions on the matter. Cornyn told reporters, “I’m not taking anything off the table except for denying people their constitutional rights who are law abiding citizens.”
Cornyn addressed the Uvalde massacre later on Thursday, saying in part, “I’m not interested in making a political statement. I’m not interested in the same old tired talking points. I’m actually interested in what we can do to make the terrible events that occurred in Uvalde less likely in the future.”
House Democrats on Wednesday announced that they will be bringing up a vote on red-flag legislation early next month.
“If we can’t get 70 or 75 senators to vote for common-sense protection of your children or grandchildren, what in the world are we here for? What’s your purpose for being in the United States Senate if it’s not at least to protect the children?” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said Wednesday. “[My colleagues and I] talked about the red flag. It’s worked. It’s works in states such as Florida. It’s been very effective.”
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