The risks red flag laws pose to both the police and the public: In the last several years, a number of states have incorporated new laws that allow the police to confiscate firearms from individuals who have been accused of being a danger to themselves or others. The working details of these laws differ from state to state, and the names of the laws do too, but since the conversation has turned toward creating a federal version, it’s been convenient to lump all of them together under the “red flag law” label.
In theory, these red flag laws allow the public to wave a symbolic “red flag” and notify law enforcement of looming problems, but the perceived advantages may be illusory, and the side effects may be worse if they're not carefully crafted with the necessary protections.
In this article, PoliceOne columnists Dick Fairburn and Mike Wood review key considerations for law enforcement regarding red flag laws.
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