Despite having some of the strictest gun laws in the country, Massachusetts regulations could get even tougher. The state legislature is considering a “red flag” law, which would allow family members, law enforcement and others to seek a court order to prevent people from owning or buying guns if they are judged to be a risk to themselves or others.
“Law enforcement may or may not be the first to know that there’s an issue or a problem,” Attorney General Maura Healey said during her monthly “Ask The Attorney General” segment on Boston Public Radio Tuesday. “You’ve got to ... put power in the hands of people who are best situated, I think, to take action.”
Red flag laws, like the extreme risk protection order bill proposed by Democratic state Rep. Marjorie Decker, are fiercely opposed by the NRA, because they say such laws enable governments to temporarily take weapons away from individuals without due process.
“Respecting the second amendment while taking steps to ensure public health and public safety aren’t mutually exclusive prerogatives,” Healey continued, “no matter what the NRA wants to say.”
Proponents of red flag legislation say that these laws could help prevent cases like the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where Nikolas Cruz — a young man with a long history of depression and erratic behavior — shot and killed 17 people.
“You hope these instances would be few and far between, but look at the nature of some of what we’ve seen,” Healey said. “Go to the Waffle House example, look at other instances even closer to home. Why wouldn’t we take steps to keep guns out of the hands of those who are a danger to themselves or others?”
Decker’s proposal is expected get a vote in the House early next month.