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Red flag bill introduced in Congress to prevent mass shootings

Sens. Rubio, Nelson aim to keep guns from dangerous people

Sens. Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio and Jack Reed
Sens. Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio and Jack Reed

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson on Thursday introduced a “red flag” bill that is aimed at preventing mass shootings.

The senators created the measure in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead and several others injured.

The bill, officially named the Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act, would give states the incentive to allow law enforcement, family members or guardians to petition a court to remove a gun from someone they deem dangerous, while still providing process protections for the individual in question.

“I think, among the things that we could do after Parkland, one of the most effective is a gun violence restraining order,” said Rubio in a video statement. “Basically, the police or a family member who thinks someone is dangerous can go to court. They can get a court order, and they can take that person’s guns away and keep them from buying new ones. And now we’re putting out there a law to try to get all the other states in the country to do the same thing, so you can find these people and you can take away their guns before they kill anybody.”

Florida just passed this provision as part the Majorie Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. Five other states are in the process of passing red flag bills.

“We must do all we can to keep our communities safe, which includes empowering law enforcement and family members concerned about loved ones to act and help keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves or others,” said Nelson. “I hope we can continue to work together on commonsense solutions, such as requiring universal background checks and getting assault rifles off our streets.”

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, of Rhode Island, joined Rubio and Nelson in crafting the bill.

 “This bill can help prevent tragedies like mass shootings and suicides,” Reed said. “This bill would provide family members and law enforcement with an opportunity to partner up to keep guns away from people who have exhibited serious, documented signs of danger to themselves or others.”

DOCUMENTS: 1 page description of bill