Gun control has been a topic of immense concern and debate over the past few years. Due to the number of high-profile incidents of gun-related violence that have occurred throughout the U.S., state lawmakers have begun to consider implementing measures meant to prevent some of that violence. Connecticut was the first state in the nation to pass a “red flag” law in 1999 after a disgruntled worker at the Connecticut Lottery Corp. used a pistol and a knife to murder four employees before shooting himself. Since the law was passed, however, no changes have been made to it, prompting some to argue that the law has not kept up with modern times. To avoid facing potential criminal charges, gun owners should be sure to understand this law and how any potential changes could affect them.
What Are “Red Flag” Laws?
A total of 16 states and the District of Columbia have followed in Connecticut’s footsteps in implementing “red flag” laws, which are laws that take a preemptive approach to gun safety. Under these laws, anyone who is concerned that another person presents a danger to themselves or others can ask the court to temporarily remove that person’s firearms from their home or possession. In many cases, people come forward if they are concerned about suicidal thoughts expressed by a loved one, or they may ask the court to take action if a person has talked or joked about shooting someone.
The judge will determine whether or not the person is actually a threat to the safety of themselves or others and make a decision accordingly. If the judge approves the request, a court order known as a “risk warrant” will be issued, requiring the person to surrender their firearms for a specific period of time.
Proposed Changes to the “Red Flag” Law
Connecticut HB5448 proposes changes to the state’s red flag law, including expanding those who can ask for a risk warrant, giving judges more discretion regarding the length of a risk warrant, and preventing people from acquiring new firearms as long as a risk warrant is in effect.
Currently, two police officers or a state’s attorney can ask for a risk warrant if they believe someone is a danger to themselves or others. The update to the law would allow family members, household members, or certain medical professionals to ask for a risk warrant. The law also currently only provides for the removal of firearms that a person already owns, but the update to the bill would also prevent these people from purchasing or acquiring new firearms.
Contact a Connecticut Weapons Charges Defense Attorney
Red flag laws are meant to help maintain the safety of everyone, including gun owners and the general public. If you are accused of violating any type of gun law, you need to seek help from a skilled Hartford, CT weapons charges defense lawyer. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can help you form a solid defense against any type of weapons-related offenses that you may be accused of. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 860-290-8690.