Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller urged the Legislature to support a “red flag” law in Iowa to help reduce gun violence.
“This is a common-sense, scientifically supported solution to a crisis,” Miller said. “No single solution will prevent shootings, but we must take advantage of tools that can be effective.”
Congress has passed bipartisan legislation that allocates $750 million for states to develop and implement red-flag laws, or extreme risk protection orders.
Studies show that such laws work. A group of universities funded by the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research reviewed extreme risk protection orders over a seven-year period and determined that more than 600 people who made mass shooting threats were disarmed. Researchers at the University of California Davis School of Medicine found 58 cases over three years in which extreme risk protection orders were used when mass shootings were threatened, and none of the threats were carried out.
Nineteen states and Washington, D.C. have laws that allow law enforcement and sometimes others to petition civil courts to confiscate firearms from people who may be a danger to themselves or others.
“Critics point to other states as proof that red-flag laws don’t work,” Miller said. “However, in many cases, the laws are new and narrow, and officials are unaware of how the laws work. Awareness and implementation are critical.”
The AG’s office trains law enforcement officials and prosecutors on a range of laws and will do the same if a red-flag law is passed in Iowa. Educating the public is also important, he said.
“If I saw loved ones threatening themselves or others, I would want access to this tool to save lives,” Miller said. “Red-flag laws empower family, friends, and others to prevent tragedies.”