DOJ launches national center to support implementation of ‘red flag’ gun laws across local U.S. communities
By News Editors // Mar 31, 2024

The Department of Justice introduces the National Extreme Risk Protection Order Resource Center to educate and assist local officials in applying ‘red flag’ laws, aimed at preventing gun violence by restricting firearm access for individuals deemed a risk.

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the creation of the National Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Resource Center under its Office of Justice Programs (OJP) on Saturday. This new center aims to train state and local officials, including law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and other community professionals, on the application of “red flag” laws. These laws allow for the temporary removal of firearms from individuals considered to pose a risk to themselves or others. The DOJ press release highlights the center’s role in facilitating legal proceedings to secure ERPOs, which rescind the firearm rights of identified individuals.

Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasized the center’s role in enhancing community safety by preventing firearms access by those deemed a threat. The move is part of the DOJ’s broader strategy to address gun violence, leveraging provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

Red flag laws, supported by advocacy groups like Brady: United Against Gun Violence, are designed to prevent gun violence tragedies, including suicides, interpersonal violence, and mass shootings, by allowing state courts to issue ERPOs. These orders prevent individuals from purchasing or possessing firearms if they are likely to use them harmfully. Currently, 21 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted such laws.

The DOJ’s initiative reflects a commitment to a multi-level governmental approach to combat the gun violence crisis in the U.S. Assistant Attorney General Amy Solomon’s statement in the press release underscores the importance of federal, state, and local collaboration in finding effective, evidence-based solutions to keep communities safe.

However, ERPOs have faced opposition from conservative groups, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), which argues that these orders infringe upon Second Amendment rights and can be abused to disarm individuals without due process. The NRA has expressed concerns about the potential for political abuse and targeting of individuals based on protected political views, citing the risk of government overreach.

The NRA’s official stance on the new DOJ initiative was not available at the time of the announcement.

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