U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., continue to champion a “red flag” safety proposal, bringing it back to Congress this week.
Rubio first introduced the “Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act” in 2018 after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland. The proposal would have the U.S. Department of Justice offer states incentives to enact red flag laws much like the one currently in Florida.
“The Florida law gives law enforcement the authority to prevent individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing firearms, while still providing due process protections,” Rubio’s office noted.
Rubio weighed in on the bill on Tuesday.
“Three years ago, 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland lost their lives and another 17 were injured,” Rubio said. “We can never bring back those we lost and the pain is still raw, but we can — we must — work together to prevent future tragedies. Five weeks after the tragedy, Congress came together in a bipartisan way to pass the STOP School Violence Act and the Fix NICS Act. And just last year, the federal government created the Federal Clearinghouse on School Safety Best Practices.
“Florida responded as well, creating a risk protection order to help empower law enforcement or family members to use the judicial system to keep guns out of the hands of unstable and potentially violent individuals,” Rubio continued. “That law, which has built in safeguards to protect constitutional rights and requires increased burden of proof, has been used effectively in Florida for the past few years. It serves as a model for other states, and my bipartisan Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act will help incentivize states to follow Florida’s lead. I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to get this bill to the President for his signature.”
Scott is backing the bill as a cosponsor.
“The tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the 17 innocent lives lost that day will never be forgotten, and I will never stop working to protect our families and prevent any further tragedies,” Scott said on Tuesday.
U.S. Sens. Jack Reed, D-RI, and Angus King, I-Maine, are also backing the bill.
“This is about saving lives,” Reed said. “Red flag laws have proven effective in keeping guns away from individuals who have demonstrated clear warning signs of danger to themselves and others. This is a bipartisan, commonsense legal tool that would expand the ability of courts to look at the evidence and temporarily remove firearms from potentially violent people if there is probable cause.”
“As gun violence continues to affect communities and families across the nation, it is critical that Congress find opportunities to build consensus on common sense ways to prevent harm and protect our rights,” King said. “This bipartisan effort creates a proactive process that can keep guns out of the hands of people who are displaying signs of emotional or mental distress, while still protecting Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation, and will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address the scourge of gun violence.”
The bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this week. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. House.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.