Note: This post has been updated with figures from Lamoille County.
It’s been almost five years since Gov. Phil Scott signed a package of gun bills into law on the Statehouse steps. One of them was a so-called “red flag” law, which allows police to temporarily take firearms away from people deemed to be an immediate risk to themselves or others.
This was a popular alternative to tougher gun restrictions, endorsed by quite a few Republicans including then-president Donald Trump. But how has the idea worked in practice?
Well, according to the Associated Press, not all that well. The AP reported that in many jurisdictions, red flag laws are so rarely used they might as well not exist.
AP found such laws in 19 states and the District of Columbia were used to remove firearms from people 15,049 times since 2020, fewer than 10 per 100,000 adult residents. Experts called that woefully low and not nearly enough to make a dent in gun violence…
In Chicago, the Illinois law was used only four times. New Mexico’s law was employed eight times. In liberal old Massachusetts, the red flag law was used a whopping 12 times.
It’s a different story in Vermont. But there are still questions to answer about our red flag law in practice.Continue reading