Thursday's red flag bill, which would allow judges to confiscate firearms from someone who is a danger to themselves or others, was passed by the House of Representatives.
This bill, which is one of many gun-safety legislation that was taken up in Congress in the wake mass shootings in Buffalo (N.Y.) and Uvalde (Texas), passed in a 224 to 202 vote. It is considered more likely than other legislation to advance in the evenly divided Senate.
On the House floor, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) stated that the measure would allow a judge temporarily to prevent someone deemed dangerous from possessing or purchasing firearms. This could save lives. Although details may differ in mass shooting cases, he stated that there is a common theme: Someone who was deeply troubled and experiencing some kind of crisis had easy access to firearms.
Nadler stated that "all too often the warning signs were obvious, but nothing was done before it was too late to prevent them from getting guns." Nadler stated that the bill "provides a sensible way for someone who is exhibiting dangerous behavior to be prevented from purchasing or possessing a firearm before tragedy strikes."
Nadler stated that more than 12 states already have similar laws, and added that these laws have saved lives. He said that in the three years since California's red-flag law was passed, it was invoked "in 58 massacre threats, six of which were made by minors threatening schools."
Rep. Mike Johnson (Republican from Louisiana) urged his colleagues not to vote for the bill. Johnson stated that the bill would allow the courts to take guns away without notice to people and would give them no right to appear in court. Johnson also said that "due process after fact" is no due process.
Nadler stated that the measure contains "strong due-process provisions that strike an appropriate balance between protecting gun owners' rights and ensuring safety in the community."
In an interview with NBC News, Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), highlighted the bill's sponsor.
McBath said that red-flag laws are designed to protect schools and prevent mass shootings. She lost her 17-year old son in 2012 when a Jacksonville man who complained about the loud music set fire to a car full of teenagers at a Jacksonville gas station. They are designed to prevent suicide-minded people from obtaining a weapon. They can also be used to prevent guns from getting into the hands of people who shouldn't have them.