Red Flag Laws

With the new year come many new state laws across the country. There are the usual suspects — gun laws, marijuana legalization and housing protections — but there are also some new frontiers: groundbreaking laws concerning Internet user privacy and the classification of contract workers in California, for example.

Here are some of the most notable laws taking effect Jan. 1, in no particular order:

Red flag

Broward Sheriff's Office / Courtesy

Florida has taken guns away from 2,000 residents in the year and a half since the state passed its Red Flag law, but while advocates tout the measure’s success and seek to have it expanded nationwide, statistics also show that much of the state has been slow to get on board.

The law empowers police to take weapons out of the hands of those who are likely to use them to harm themselves or others.

A House committee will take up legislation on Tuesday aimed at preventing mass shootings, as lawmakers and the White House move to respond to a recent spate of attacks across the country.

The bills being considered by the House Judiciary Committee include measures that would limit access to high-capacity gun magazines and block any person convicted of a hate crime from obtaining a firearm.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

On the Aug. 26, 2019 episode of Sundial:

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Following the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Congress is considering a bill that would encourage states to pass red flag laws. Members of Congress may want to study Florida, where it's been in place for a year and a half.

Since it was adopted there, courts have approved some 2,500 risk protection orders. That's nearly five every day, more than any other state. The Florida law allows police, acting with court approval, to temporarily seize weapons from people deemed to be at risk of harming themselves or others.

A new tool

Strong majorities of Americans from across the political spectrum support laws that allow family members or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily remove guns from a person who is seen to be a risk to themselves or others, according to a new APM Research Lab/Guns & America/Call To Mind survey.

At his first campaign rally after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump appeared to back away from supporting a possible expansion of background checks in favor of a push for more attention to mental illness.

"There is a mental illness problem that has to be dealt with. It's not the gun that pulls the trigger — it's the person holding the gun," Trump said to roars and a standing ovation from the Manchester, N.H., crowd.

After the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, gun control is again at the forefront of the political conversation.

President Trump has expressed openness to a federal red flag law and for "meaningful" background checks.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will discuss measures aimed at addressing gun violence in September. He said he expects background checks, assault weapons and "red flag" laws to be part of the debate.

"What we can't do is fail to pass something," McConnell told WHAS radio in Kentucky, adding, "the urgency of this is not lost on any of us."

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

President Trump visited survivors of the shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday before heading to El Paso, Texas, the site of the weekend's other deadly violence. Trump remained out of public view during the Dayton stop.

On the ground in El Paso, Trump said, "We had an amazing day."

"The love, the respect, for the office of the presidency, it was — I wish you could have been in there to see it," he told reporters.

Bar Jack / Flickr

Following mass shootings in Ohio and Texas President Donald Trump is calling on states to adopt laws temporarily preventing someone from accessing a gun. Florida already has such a law and is using it. Now two state lawmakers want to see the law expanded.

Peter Haden / WLRN

Could Florida have something to teach the country about gun control? 

Federal lawmakers are considering a law that would encourage states to implement systems through which courts can remove weapons from people who may be harmful to themselves or others. The state-level measures are called extreme risk protection orders, or red flag laws.