In the aftermath of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton this past weekend, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is calling on the U.S. Senate to look at his “red flag” safety proposal.
Rubio urged U.S. Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the committee, to look at his “Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act” in their next meeting.
Rubio first introduced this bill in March of 2018, following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland. That same year, Florida implemented its own red flag law, which has provided Florida law enforcement agencies with the ability to carry out more than a thousand risk protection orders.
The letter Rubio sent on Tuesday is below.
Dear Chairman Graham and Ranking Member Feinstein:
On February 6, 2019, I requested that the committee consider S. 7, the Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act, legislation that I reintroduced on the first day of the 116th Congress. This bill remains a priority of mine, and acknowledges the very unfortunate truth that we exist in a world where others seek to do harm. Whether it be harm to themselves, or others, we owe it to our constituents to enact policies that allow for a legal avenue to remove firearms from those who require help.
As you know, more and more states are enacting “red flag” laws, or as they are also known, “risk protection orders.” I was pleased to learn of the hearing you held on March 26, 2019 titled, “Red Flag Laws: Examining Guidelines for State Action.” As Florida enacted a “red flag” law shortly after the February 14, 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy, Florida law enforcement agencies have appropriately, and successfully, implemented more than a thousand risk protection orders. These are instances where firearms were removed from dangerous individuals, resulting in what could be countless lives that were saved.
The two horrific shootings that occurred this past weekend demonstrates why we must enact common sense reforms. Risk protection orders continue to have bipartisan support. Unfortunately, neither state in which these unimaginable tragedies occurred currently have a “red flag” law. It is too soon to say whether the deranged culprits who carried out these unspeakable acts would have been “flagged,” however, the options available to family members and law enforcement are varied, and often limited.
My bill simply seeks to incentivize states to enact their own risk protection orders, and ultimately, allow those who seek to do harm the ability to get the help they so desperately need. To have a chance at preventing tragedies in the future, we must be able to identify dangerous behavior that will enable the appropriate individuals to take legal action to remove firearms from dangerous individuals.
I urge you to include S. 7 on the committee’s next executive business meeting agenda, and I remain committed to working with you, the committee, and the Congress, to get this bill to the president for signature.