Florida’s “red flag” law, which allows the temporary removal of weapons from individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, is being credited with potentially saving lives. The law enables concerned family members or community members to approach law enforcement agencies and file a risk protection order. In Hillsborough County, this process is facilitated through the attorney at the law enforcement agency, according to Hillsborough County State Attorney Susan Lopez.
Since the law’s implementation after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Polk County has seen nearly 400 risk protection orders filed in the past year. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd explains that the law serves as a temporary measure to remove firearms from individuals in significant mental distress or those who have used a weapon to commit a felony assault.
Judd emphasizes that the risk protection order is not a violation of Second Amendment rights and assures that there are ample due process protections in place. He clarifies that it is a temporary measure, acting as a “timeout” for individuals struggling with mental health issues or exhibiting anger management problems and making threats of harm.
The “red flag” law in Florida aims to provide a proactive approach to address potential risks associated with individuals in crisis, allowing law enforcement to intervene and temporarily remove firearms until the situation stabilizes.