DOJ Announces $200 Million Spend on Red Flag Laws

The Justice Department is doling out over $200 million this year to states and the District of Columbia to support the adoption and implementation of red flag laws under what’s known as the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program.

Red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection order (ERPO) programs, allow the government to seize firearms from individuals accused— not convicted — of being a danger to themselves or others.  

Supporters believe these laws have the capacity to save lives even though they focus solely on confiscating firearms, and do nothing to prevent the individual from accessing or possessing other potentially deadly “weapons.”

Homicidal individuals, for example, will still have access to edged implements, blunt instruments and automobiles even though they’ve been red-flagged.  Suicidal individuals, for example, will still have access to things like rope, razor blades, and poisonous household chemicals even though they’ve been red-flagged. 

It’s worth noting that in 2021 more people were killed with knives and cutting instruments than rifles, per data gathered by the Statista Research Dept.

In either case, there’s nothing stopping these individuals from carrying out their violent intentions by other means.  

Nevertheless, DOJ leadership believes this is a big win for communities around the country.  

“The Justice Department is working relentlessly to protect communities from violent crime and the gun violence that often drives it, and the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program is an important part of that effort,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica. 

SEE ALSO: DOJ Publishes Guidance for ‘Red Flag’ Confiscation Legislation

“These awards will support the kinds of crisis intervention programs that we know save lives and help protect children, families, and communities across the country from senseless acts of gun violence,” Garland added. 

Likewise, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco was equally sanguine about the impact of ERPO schemes.  

“The Department of Justice’s strategy to reduce violent crime and gun violence includes prioritizing support for successful, evidence-based programs,” said Monaco. “The grants announced today invest in and highlight proven state and local violence prevention and intervention programs, that will make our communities safer.”

The funding for this initiative was approved via the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022, the first significant gun control legislation passed by Congress in nearly three decades.  

As noted in previous GunsAmerica articles, there is no definitive evidence to suggest that red flag laws are effective, broadly speaking.

Rosanna Smart, a Rand Corp. economist, examined various studies of red flag laws and found “very inconclusive” evidence that they decrease overall firearm suicide or homicide rates.

“I wouldn’t say it’s strongly one way or another,” Smart told back in April of 2021.

Yet the rollout of red flag laws across the U.S. is imminent, especially now that there are federal dollars available (19 states already have ERPO programs on the books). Educators, law enforcement, medical personnel, and family members will soon have the power to petition a judge to red-flag any gun owner they believe is a threat.

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • Dutch February 25, 2023, 2:44 pm

    RED FLAG LAWS are government corruption at the highest level. States that take corrupt money from the federal gov’t should just make a public announcement that they are no longer a part of America, they do not follow the Constitutional Republic’s Laws, and that their subjects are now socialists taking orders from European communist countries. RFLs started during the Clinton administration, hmmmmm, go figure.

  • Stan d. Upnow February 17, 2023, 9:45 am

    Get ready. With all that money doled to Red Flag participants, they will now be on a witch-hunt to justify being given more money next fiscal year. Meanwhile, citizens will be wrongly victimized in order to inflate the “enforcement” numbers toward that end. It’s not only the feds who are corrupt.

  • Nick February 17, 2023, 9:17 am

    Mis-directin from the author. The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed if you haven’t been convicted. Don’t fall for it, especially after you have seen how deep the corruption is government. You will be charged and convicted of crimes you did not commit.

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment February 15, 2023, 6:05 am

    Wouldn’t have stopped the michigan shooter that is obvious!!!

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