What Happens If a Red Flag Law is Used Against You? Guns Are Seized, Then What?

(U.S. LawShield)

Can you imagine a judge signing an order allowing police to seize your firearms—even though you haven’t broken a single law?

There has been a nationwide push for “extreme risk protective orders” or “red flag” laws in recent years. Most notably, when announcing executive orders on gun control, President Biden called for a national red flag “model” law and for the federal government to use its purse strings to encourage all states to adopt such laws.

These laws are written to remove firearms from people who’ve been accused of conduct or language that may be seen as “dangerous.” What do you need to know about these orders from a legal perspective? Could they really be used to take away your Second Amendment rights? If a red flag order is served on you, what should you do?

First, you need to understand the history of these laws and how you can take preemptive action to make sure you retain your right to bear arms.

How did red flag laws start?

Red flag laws entered prominent national discourse in 1999 when Connecticut passed the first of its kind because of a mass shooting at the Connecticut Lottery headquarters. Lawmakers in Connecticut intended for this law to target individuals with specific mental health conditions and prevent them from accessing firearms.

More recently, on February 14, 2018, a 19-year-old former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, horrifically killing 17 people and injuring 17 others. There was an immediate national outcry to “do something” to stop what the media has frequently dubbed “gun violence.” When information emerged that the shooter had documented mental health issues, lawmakers across the country began pushing for laws to take away guns from individuals whose behavior raised a “red flag” that they could be a threat to themselves or others.

In theory, the purpose of these laws is to identify an individual who exhibits early warning signs of danger and prevent a criminal act from occurring by preemptively disarming them.

SEE ALSO: Lawmakers Seek to Outlaw Production of Modern Sporting Rifles in Massachusetts

However, there’s an obvious irony: with red flag legal proceedings, the person’s firearms are seized, but the individual may be quickly released back into society, free to pursue whatever misdeeds they might choose.

Red flag laws generally begin with an “ex parte” court order (meaning the subject of the order isn’t notified of the proceeding or given an opportunity to respond) that prevents the person from owning, possessing, or transporting firearms and ammunition for a specified period of time. Most jurisdictions also allow for the extension of these orders for months or years if the affected individual is “deemed a threat” after an opportunity for a hearing.

What could happen if a red flag law is used against you?

Let’s imagine that every state in the country enacts a red flag law similar to California’s, called a “Gun Violence Restraining Order.” That law says you could be prohibited from owning, purchasing, possessing, or transporting firearms and ammunition for between one and five years.

And that order could be renewed and extended indefinitely. California Penal Code §§ 18170-18197 lays out the process by which any qualifying person can ask to extend the red flag order within three months of its expiration. The order will be extended if the court finds that you still pose a significant danger of causing personal injury to yourself or another by controlling, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm, ammunition, or magazine, and all other conditions for renewal are satisfied.

In this hypothetical scenario, you could petition the court once per year—but not more than that—to ask for it to be lifted. But even one petition a year would entail another costly and time-consuming legal proceeding, with no guarantee of success.

As of this article’s publish date, 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted versions of red flag laws. The federal government may entice many other states to follow suit over the coming months or years. Who knows what could happen in the future?

These uncertainties make the Legal Defense for Self-Defense Program from U.S. LawShield so necessary. In today’s complicated legal system, having an attorney knowledgeable in your state’s gun laws just one phone call away can help ease such worries. U.S. LawShield is the premier program that provides a proactive, attorney-based, education-focused approach to making sure law-abiding gun owners can have true peace of mind.

For more information on how to protect yourself, join U.S. LawShield today!

About the author: U.S. LawShield Our organization traces its roots to 2009, when a group of pioneering lawyers became fed up with the hostility and abuse in the legal system directed towards responsible gun owners. They saw innocent people suffering the terrible consequences of someone else’s choice to commit crime. And to make matters worse, those people were tied up in the legal system, struggling to defend themselves. Innocent people were experiencing financial duress, bankruptcy—or worst of all, going to jail.The Second Amendment states “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” And yet, every day, our founders saw innocent, responsible gun owners experiencing mistreatment in the legal system—as if they were the ones that had done something wrong. To fight these injustices, our founders chose to stand up for the rights of the American people and become a champion for good and the voice of justice. That’s when the idea for our company was born: the first concealed weapon legal defense program to truly provide Legal Defense for Self-Defense.Our business was born in Texas and continues today from our headquarters in Houston, Texas. For many years, we provided our program to law-abiding residents of Texas and was known as Texas LawShield®. Demand for services existed well-beyond the state of Texas and our team expanded to other states. Along the way, we took on the name U.S. LawShield®.Today, we are serving members in the majority of states. While we are honored that our focus and mission have really resonated with so many people – literally attracting hundreds of thousands across the country, we will never forget what brought us together, why we exist to serve members and we will always stay close to our Texas roots. It is said the people of Texas have some unique customs and traditions like independence, self-reliance, a can-do spirit, and a big heart (caring for one another). We work to convey this in all we do for our members.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • m June 25, 2021, 4:21 am

    huh…Just if a person trully wants to kill another person or self taking their guns is NOT gonna stop’em….they do it some other way or just buy a gun on the blackmarket….!

    Yes an open threat of “murder” of another should be investigated tho not a “rumor” by a trouble maker only a sworn statement to which penalty of Perjury apply’s…!

  • Bill May 1, 2021, 10:45 pm

    Exactly How would Texas Law Shoeld help protect us against Red Flag Laws?

  • Shanz April 30, 2021, 7:29 pm

    I’m so fucking sick of this shit. Didn’t we used to hate Commies?

  • Jon April 30, 2021, 6:41 pm

    Quit simple. If I know I’ve done nothing wrong my weapons will stay where they are.these laws are a blatant violation of the constitution and due process. They are welcome to try to remove them, however they will be considered home invaders and force will be used to repell them. I promise this will end badly for new criminals at my door.

  • Benjamin E Luera April 30, 2021, 4:28 pm

    All it takes is a call from an angry ex-wife, husband or neighbor to take your rights away without due process. This is the most vicious anti-gun law passed.

    • Walleye May 1, 2021, 2:43 pm

      … or a call from an angry mother in law, father in law, sister or brother, coworker, boss, employee, business competitor, daughter’s boyfriend, son’s girlfriend, political rival or opponent. The list of people who could abuse red flag laws is endless. If someone is a bad apple, have them legally adjucated. Until then, keep your hands of my thunder sticks.

    • Ron May 1, 2021, 11:40 pm

      BEN, YOU ARE SO RIGHT , IT HAS HAPPEN HERE IN FLORIDA. PISSED OFF EX WIFE CALLED THE POLICE AND SAID HER EX WAS ACTING STRANGE AND DIDN’T WANT THEIR KIDS AROUND HIM. SHE EXPLAINED HE HAD GUNS IN HIS HOME. SO THE POLICE GOT A RED FLAG ORDER AND WENT TO HIS HOUSE AND HANDCUFFED HIM AND SEIZED ALL HIS GUNS. HE SPENT THE NIGHT IN JAIL AND BONDED OUT THE NEXT DAY. HE WAS TOLD THAT A COMPLAINT WAS ISSUED AND RED FLAG ORDER WAS PLACED ON HIM. HE HAD TO HIRE A LAWYER, GET A PSYCHIATRIC TEST DONE TO PROVE HE WASN’T NUTS. HE HAD TO GET A LETTER FROM HIS PASTOR FROM HIS CHURCH STATING HE IS OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER. COURT COSTS AND A YEAR LATER HE GOT HIS GUNS BACK. ALL THIS COST HIM ABOUT $7500.00. WAS IT WORTH IT… YES HE PROVED THAT HIS EX WIFE MADE A FALSE POLICE REPORT. POETIC JUSTICE … SHE WENT TO JAIL.

  • Fal Phil April 30, 2021, 12:03 pm

    Waiting on someone to challenge this on constitutional due process grounds.

  • Dexter Winslett April 30, 2021, 11:48 am

    This retired police officer says if they red flag and come to disarm you, act like an American and shoot them. We fight or we lose. Democrats are evil.

    • Shanz April 30, 2021, 7:22 pm

      Thank you sir. You cannot appease evil.

  • Mario Acevedo April 30, 2021, 9:43 am

    US News ran a report from Kaiser Health, of all places, questioning the utility of Red Flag Laws.

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