FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 8th, 2019
ICYMI: Rep. Karla Rose Hanson on the “Red Flag” Bill
(BISMARCK, ND) – During the legislative session this year, Representative Karla Rose Hanson brought forth bipartisan legislation that would have established public safety protection orders, commonly referred to as “red flag” legislation or “extreme risk protection orders.” HB 1537 would have created a legal process for law enforcement and family members to ask the court to temporarily remove a firearm from someone who is considered a danger to themselves or others. This bill had 8 Republican co-sponsors including Rich Wardner, the Senate Majority leader. Representative Karla Rose Hanson spoke with Joel Heitkamp on News and Views on Tuesday regarding this missed opportunity.
”The bill creates a process in which we can intervene before warning signs become tragedy, and it gives law enforcement or family members a way to use the court system to temporarily remove someone’s weapons if there are signs or risks that the person may harm themselves or others,” says Representative Hanson. “The Trump administration has actually advocated for red flag bills, which we brought forward as testimony during the session.” She also notes that conservative states such as Indiana, (where Vice President, Mike Pence was once Governor) have passed red flag legislation.
The bill had a strong coalition of supporters including law enforcement, suicide prevention advocates, and education leaders. It was endorsed by the North Dakota Police Chiefs Association, the North Dakota Association of School Resource Officers, the North Dakota School Board Association, North Dakota United, and many other groups and individuals. Unfortunately, misinformation was spread by Republican legislators, and the bill was easily defeated.
National support for this type of legislation is growing. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are working on a plan would create a federal grant program to encourage states to adopt “red flag” laws. Both parties expressed hope that something can be done, and the President has signaled support for the plan.
Representative Hanson says ultimately that common-sense gun legislation will happen if legislators are willing to put politics aside and work on solutions.
Click here to listen to the interview.