Even in the aftermath of 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz shooting dead 17 people, many states continue to look the other way when it comes to barring the sale and ownership of guns. Cruz displayed all the signs of an impending murderer- fighting with fellow students, expulsion from school, hurting animals, and a fascination with weapons. All these were not sufficient for relatives and school authorities to ask for a judicial order which would have stopped him from owning guns.
No gun equals no killing
A meager five states have existing laws which enable the police, family members or guardians to take away gun carrying rights from individuals. People who support such laws claim that lives can be saved as guns can be taken away. This stripping of gun rights followed by these states is applied to people who display early signs of impending violence. Supporters of these kinds of measures term them as “red flag laws”. They are also known as restraining orders.
Red flag laws
Democratic lawmakers have already introduced red flag registration. However, nothing much has been heard about them in 2018. The future also does not look much bright as Republicans control the state Legislature. The GOP lawmakers are known to prefer gun rights expansion. The GOP Governor Rick Scott said after the February 14 shooting that he will ensure that individuals with mental health issues do not enjoy any kind of access to guns. He declined to provide any specifics. A more concrete action could be adopted by Republican Senator Marco Rubio. The senator stung by criticism due to his known support for National Rifle Association (NRA) told viewers of a Sunday show that legislators must enact a law which will take away guns from any dangerous person. Rubio said that the Florida shooting could have been stopped if there was such a law.
California, one of the most progressive states in this regard, allowed family members to request a judge to take away firearms from any relative who may seem a threat. The law of this particular state also gives power to the police to petition for protective orders. This may need authorities to take away firearms for a year. Four other states- Washington, Connecticut, Oregon, and Indiana also have their own versions of red flag laws. Other states like Missouri, Hawaii, and New Jersey could follow suit.