Maine’s Yellow Flag Law Invoked Over a Dozen Times Following Deadly Mass Shooting

Crime scene tape still surrounds Schemengees Bar & Grille.

Maine’s yellow flag law, which restricts access to guns during a mental health crisis, has been invoked more than a dozen times since the deadly mass shooting in Lewiston last month. According to an updated list released by the state, weapons restriction orders were imposed at least 13 times under the law since the October 25th shootings, making it a total of 94 times since the law’s implementation in July 2020.

Four individuals mentioned the name of the Lewiston gunman, Robert Card, or expressed intentions of becoming the “next mass shooter.” The state’s list provides a brief synopsis of the circumstances in each case. On Friday, the law was invoked five times, as reported in the list.

The updated figures were disclosed during a law enforcement training session focused on the yellow flag law, which was attended by several hundred officers. The mass shooting in Lewiston resulted in the deaths of 18 people and left 13 others wounded. The gunman, Robert Card, an Army reservist, opened fire at a bowling alley and a bar. A manhunt ensued, involving hundreds of law enforcement officers, and ended with the discovery of Card’s body two days later in nearby Lisbon. An autopsy confirmed that he died by suicide.

Under Maine’s yellow flag law, a warning to the police can initiate a process where an officer visits an individual and assesses whether temporary protective custody is necessary. With a judge’s approval, this can lead to a 14-day weapons restriction. A full court hearing may extend the restrictions for up to a year.

Prior to the mass shootings, there were warnings about Card’s mental health and access to weapons. Family members and fellow reservists expressed concerns, with one reservist even stating in a text message, “I believe he’s going to snap and do a mass shooting.” Law enforcement had visited Card’s home twice about a month before the shootings, but he did not answer the door. The sheriff’s office stated that they did not have the legal authority to forcibly enter the premises. It remains unclear what transpired after those visits, although the statewide alert seeking help locating Card was canceled by the sheriff’s office a week before the deadly rampage.

Author: CrimeDoor

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