Red Flag Laws enforced in Illinois, but lawmakers and gun owners question if Iowa needs them

DAVENPORT, Iowa – In light of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, federal lawmakers and President Trump are looking into ways to prevent mass shootings from happening in the first place.

One of those is Red Flag Laws where the state court has the right to temporarily confiscate a firearm from a person who could be dangerous to themselves or others.

Red Flag Laws are currently in 17 states including Illinois, but Iowa doesn’t enforce them and neither do Texas or Ohio where this weekend’s shootings took place. The laws are a solution some lawmakers and gun owners are pushing for, but others are against.

The number of states with Red Flag Laws increased after the Parkland, Florida shooting in 2018.

Putting a gun in the hands of the right person is what Jeanelle Westrom prioritizes at Davenport Guns.

“My number one job is to make sure I don’t put guns in the hands of people who are not allowed to own them,” says Westrom.

She’s trained to check each customer for their credentials.

“We have permit to carry or permit to acquire,” she explains.

After two shootings took place this weekend in El Paso and Dayton, federal lawmakers like US Senator Richard Durbin think Red Flag Laws need to be passed in all 50 states. Those laws allow the court to take a firearm away from a potentially dangerous individual.

“People start noticing some unusual characteristics about people, some things they are posting or doing or saying and act on it,” says Senator Durbin.

Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack wants to see Red Flag Laws in Iowa.

“We must ensure that no person’s right to due process is violated,” says Representative Loebsack. “But as we have been taught, when you see something, say something. Many times, a person who is going to commit a crime will have told someone else about their plans.”

Illinois State Senator Neil Anderson believes guns aren’t the issue.

“I think we need to focus on the problem rather than the object,” Senator Anderson says. “We need to focus more on mental health, more funding, more research.”

For others, like Westrom, it comes down to due process.

“You can’t just sit there and say, ‘I’m mad at you and to make you pay, I’m going to have your guns taken away from you’,” Westrom says.

The Senate is currently on summer recess and democrats are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to return from recess and vote on two background check bills passed in February.

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