In nearly party-line vote, House passes bill that would federalize red flag gun laws

On a nearly party-line basis and by a margin of 224-202, the Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill that would federalize red flag laws, which supporters argue would help keep guns out of the hands of those posing dangers to themselves or others, but opponents contend faciltiate violations of the Second Amendment, as Fox News reports.

Introduction of the measure, known as the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, came close on the heels of the lower chamber’s approval of another far-reaching gun bill that would ban the use of high-capacity magazines by civilians and would also increase the minimum age for purchasing semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21.

According to the provisions contained in Thursday bill, law enforcement officials and family members would be able to seek extreme protection orders in federal court meant to prevent named individuals from buying or possessing guns – at least for a temporary period of time.

As The Hill reports, those orders would either take the form of a short-term measure lasting no more than 14 days or of a longer-term prohibition lasting up to 180 days. For the two-week orders, no hearing would even be required prior to issuance.

If, after a court’s review of evidence provided in support of a request for such an order, it is found that such action is indeed necessary, the individual in question would be required to surrender their ammunition and guns and would also be banned from obtaining or possessing other firearms for the duration of the order.

There has been an intense feeling of urgency among Democrats to move on red flag laws and other restrictions on gun ownership in the wake of a spate of mass shooting events, with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) stating that while such incidents may differ in terms of specifics, “there is one theme that comes up most often: someone deeply troubled, experiencing some sort of crisis, had easy access to firearms.”

Nadler went on, saying, “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.”

Summarizing the type opposition to the bill felt by himself and many of his colleagues, however, was House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who contended that the measure “uses overly broad language related to ex parte extreme risk protection orders that casts aside individuals’ rights to due process and tramples on American’s Second Amendment rights.”

GOP leadership further lamented what was characterized as “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,” and those types of concerns may well be what ultimately prevents the bill from gaining any traction in the Senate.