‘Red flag’ laws still being debated as gun reform seemingly stalls at White House

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Efforts at gun reform are seemingly stalled as the White House deals with the impeachment inquiry.

But there is still debate happening inside Congress.

For all the push and pull over gun reform, “red flag” laws, also known as extreme risk laws, have consistently been considered a safe middle ground in the battle over guns.

“The reality is 17 states and the District of Columbia have enacted these laws,” said Kris Brown of BRADY, a gun reform group.

The laws allow authorities to proactively remove firearms from anyone deemed a risk to themselves or others following due process. Brown said it’s a useful tool to stop suicides and gun violence.

“This is exactly the kind of protection the public is crying out for in order to stop the next mass shooting,” she said.

But some say “red flag” laws risk violating the Constitution, saying if the laws are implemented, they must follow strict, legal guidelines.

“Where you’ll find disagreement is sort of, how do you do that? Do you broaden existing law, do you create this whole new segment,” said Amy Swearer of The Heritage Foundation.

Swearer, a Second Amendment attorney with the foundation, believes the federal government has a role in crafting these laws.

“But when it comes down to the practical implementations, that’s got to be a very state-by-state approach,” she said.

And gun control supporters said Congress needs to do more to make that happen.

“I think the role for Congress here, and we see momentum in the House and the Senate on this issue, is to provide incentives for the states to adopt more extreme risk laws,” Brown said.

So far, several reform bills have passed the Democratic-controlled House, but have not been given a hearing in the Senate by GOP leadership.

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