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House Committee Shoots Down 'Red Flag' Bill To Take Guns From Dangerous Individuals

Julia Ritchey
Rep. Stephen Handy discusses his bill to allow a court to remove a weapon from a dangerous person.

A bill died in committee Monday that would’ve allowed courts to temporarily take away firearms from people who pose an extreme risk — legislation introduced just after the Parkland, Fla., shooting.


Rep. Stephen Handy, a Republican, sponsored H.B. 483, modeled after an Indiana law.

“So let’s consider this issue a public safety statute to remove the means of doing an individual to himself or herself [harm], or to doing mass harm,” he said, ”and there‘s due process here — a high level, I believe ... following the pattern in other states.”


At least five other states have these so-called “red flag” laws or extreme risk protective orders. They allow family members or law enforcement to petition a court to have a gun taken away from a person who poses a threat to themselves or public safety.  

But Handy’s bill faced stiff opposition from other Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, the last day for hearings on bills.

Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, said he was concerned about due process and violating a person’s Second Amendment rights.

“We’re really just perpetuating the narrative that the gun is the instrumentality or the actor of criminal violence,” he said.

The committee voted 7-4 to send the bill back to the Rules committee, ending any chance of passage this session. Handy said he could see other avenues for the legislation, including a possible special session to address gun violence and school safety.


Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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