Combat America’s Gun Violence Epidemic: Enact Red Flag Laws Nationwide

Target: Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Goal: Prevent mass shootings and episodes of gun violence by adopting red flag laws, which temporarily restrict firearm access to those who pose a threat to themselves or others.

In the wake of the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, it is clear that it is long past time for America to address the rampant gun violence plaguing the country. Seventeen people were killed and fifteen others injured in this devastating attack. One extremely useful protection (in place in five states, of which Florida is not one) is the presence of red flag laws. Red flag laws save lives by temporarily restricting a person displaying warning signs of violence from having access to guns, thus preventing those warnings from turning into tragedies.

According to reports, the 19-year-old suspect in the Parkland, FL shooting—like 42% of attackers involved in mass shootings in the U.S. from 2009 to 2016—exhibited dangerous warning signs before the incident occurred. In this case, the young man had been expelled from school, and his threatening behavior had been reported by both students and teachers. His mother had become concerned enough to contact law enforcement on multiple occasions, and he was known to possess firearms.

Red flag laws would allow law enforcement or immediate family to petition for an extreme risk protection order in situations such as this. If the court determined that the person in question is in danger of hurting themselves or others, he would be prevented from buying or possessing guns and would be required to turn over his firearms while the order is in effect. These laws come with robust due process protections, to ensure that people are protected but not deprived of their rights: temporary orders that last two to three weeks can take effect before a full hearing if there is solid evidence that the risk of violence makes it necessary. Final orders, lasting up to one year, only take effect after notice and the opportunity for both sides to be heard. There is no reason and no excuse for failing to enact these protections. Sign below to fight gun violence and demand nationwide red flag laws.


Dear Speaker Ryan,

After the latest tragic mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, it is unacceptable for lawmakers to continue to stand idly by. The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have spoken out demanding that their lives be protected after dozens of them were killed and injured in this attack. I urge you to heed them and take steps to prevent these types of incidents in the future.

Red flag laws are an effective way of putting protections in place that many states are currently considering, and that some already enforce. These protections must be enacted nationwide. Red flag laws help prevent acts of gun violence—both homicide and suicide, two dangerous epidemics in our country. They enable law enforcement and immediate family members who recognize warning signs of violence to request a court order temporarily restricting firearm access. These laws come with thorough due process protections, helping prevent violent episodes without encroaching on the rights of Americans. I urge you to protect our country from these tragedies, and not ignore the solutions that are within reach. Please do all you can to put red flag laws in place nationwide.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bart Everson

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  1. Possessing such a fanatic view of owning weapons will only lead to the destruction of a country. If I were in a position to decide, I would make sure that the inhabitants of the country were helped with healthcare, roof over their head and work as priority 1.

  2. Gen Agustsson says:

    raise gun violence awareness now! democrats must work harder and harder.

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