The D.C. government is preparing to enact a “Red Flag” law which has been already implemented in Maryland and 12 other states.
Under the new law, officers can remove firearms from people who are potentially dangerous to themselves and others. D.C. City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said that the votes are in place to pass the measure.
“The courts can move very quickly on the first part to temporarily remove that firearm – often times it might be for a week or two – giving time for a full court hearing, and then the court can make a decision even up to a year if they have the full evidence and preponderance of the evidence to back that up,” explained Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen.
If the statute is passed, family members, law enforcement officers and mental health professionals can apply to a court regarding concerns that an individual who has access to firearms can turn violent, added Allen.
In cases of illegally owned firearms, family members can also go to the court since the person with the firearm will have immunity from prosecution for possessing it.
A similar Red Flag bill was recently passed into law in Maryland and court orders have started being carried out throughout the state by police officers.
Under the new law, anyone found in possession of extended magazine can face three years’ imprisonment, instead of one. “For the council to say you know what, we passed the NEAR ACT, we are doing a lot to try to prevent gun violence and other types of violence in the city, but we still got to do more — we are taking this seriously,” said Sarah Dachos of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is very encouraged by that and we fully support the city council.”
Praising the city council’s stance on gun control, Dachos said the Red Flag laws enacted in 13 states have helped save lives.