Red Flag Laws and What You Need to Know About Them

Red Flag Laws and What You Need to Know About Them

( – Red Flag laws are laws meant to protect the public from people who may lose control of themselves and turn to their gun cabinets as a means of release. Owning a firearm under the Second Amendment can give Americans great power. Ultimately, though, that power also comes with significant responsibility. In that way, gun owners are held to a higher standard, and should keep that in mind at all times.

Reporting a Threat

Not all states have Red Flag laws, but the ones that do allow people to report others who might be a threat. The devil is in the details: not everyone can report threats and the ones who can are specified by the state. California is a great example.

Under AB 61, prior to September 1, 2020, immediate family members and police have the right to report someone who owns firearms and they deem as a threat to themselves or others. In such cases, the firearms can be immediately confiscated for 21 days, based solely on the word of the person reporting. If evidence is shown that the threatening person is a true risk, that Gun Violence Restraining Order can be renewed within three months, for a year.

After September 1, 2020, amendments kick in. The biggest thing to note is once they do, co-workers, employers, and teachers who have worked with you within the past six months can report you as a threat.

Preventing Being Reported

Just as important as knowing the ins and outs of what comes from reporting, is knowing how to avoid having your firearms taken from you for little to no reason. Obviously, those who really are a threat don’t need immediate access to firearms. On one hand, we have people who believe this is government overreach. On the other hand, there are those who believe this may go a long way toward preventing incidents like school shootings.

The problem is there are always going to be people who abuse these types of laws, and you need to be prepared for that. Some of the tips below may help.

  • Keep your business private. Having a bad day? Keep it off social media. What may be a 30-second vent session to you is a published bit of insight to your emotions, and it’s there forever.
  • Skip firearm announcements. Let’s say your old teacher wants to date you and you decline. Under the new law, six months after the class is over, they can make a false report and have your firearms removed — not out of concerns for safety, but out of spite. Keep your firearm ownership to yourself and you’re less likely to have a need to worry about it.
  • Create a reputation. Your reputation carries more weight than you, personally, do. It can also mean the difference between someone claiming you’re generally unstable and someone refuting that with a hearty, “He’s not normally like that; he’s just having a bad day.”
  • Be a good neighbor. There isn’t any question that some are going to use this law to their advantage. It’s going to happen because there are those who don’t care. But how you treat those around you can go a long way toward avoiding those circumstances. Be someone people can trust to be stable, friendly, and honest.

Whether you use this law or have it used against you, it carries a lot of responsibility.

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