House approves federalization of red flag laws in nearly party-line vote

By a nearly party-line vote of 224-202, the Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill federalizing so-called red flag laws, which purportedly work to keep guns out of the hands of those thought to be dangerous to themselves or others, as Fox News reports

The measure in question, referred to as the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order, came almost immediately on the heels of House approval of a far-reaching gun bill that bans the use of high-capacity magazines by civilians and would also raise the minimum age for semi-automatic weapons purchases from 18 to 21.

The red flag provisions contained in Thursday’s bill would allow law enforcement officials and family members to seek extreme protection orders in federal court designed to stop specific individuals from buying or possessing guns – at least on a temporary basis.

According to The Hill, those orders would either take the form of a short-term measure lasting no longer than 14 days or a long-term prohibition lasting 180 days. In the former instance, no hearing would be required.

If, after a review of evidence provided in support of such an order, a court finds that such action is necessary, the individual at issue would then be required to surrender their ammunition and guns and would be banned from acquiring or possessing other firearms for as long as the order remains in place.

A sense of urgency has developed among Democrats to move on red flag laws and other restrictions on gun ownership in the wake of recent mass shooting events, with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) declaring that recent mass shooting events may differ in their specifics, “there is one theme that comes up most often: someone deeply troubled, experiencing some sort of crisis, had easy access to firearms.”

“And all too often, the warning signs were clear but nothing was done to keep guns out of their hands before it was too late,” Nadler added.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), however, expressed his opposition to the measure that ultimately passed, saying that the legislation “uses overly broad language related to ex parte extreme risk protection orders that casts aside individuals’ rights to due process and tramples on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.”

Republican leadership further blasted what it deemed “poorly crafted legislation focused on firearm confiscation and undermining the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens” instead of “working…to find common ground solutions to secure schools and address the root causes of gun violence,” but only time will tell what happens once the provisions reach the Senate, and the inevitable pressure on lawmakers to “do something” in response to gun violence continues to build.