In the state of Florida, law enforcement agencies have the ability to petition judges to temporarily prohibit dangerous individuals from possessing or purchasing firearms, thanks to a provision known as a “red flag” law. This law was put into place following the tragic Parkland high school shooting in 2018 and has since been invoked over 8,000 times to restrict gun ownership of individuals deemed a risk to themselves or others. It has received support from many Florida sheriffs.
Florida is one of 21 states that have implemented red flag laws. The law allows law enforcement to ask a judge for the removal of someone’s guns if they are considered a threat to the public or themselves. However, Governor Ron DeSantis recently expressed uncertainty about the effectiveness of Florida’s red flag law in removing guns from dangerous individuals. He stated that he would not sign any gun safety measures, including red flag laws if he were elected president, as he believes in upholding Second Amendment rights and the Constitution.
DeSantis suggested that instead of relying on red flag laws, more emphasis should be placed on holding individuals accountable through mental adjudication for those deemed mentally unstable, or convicting them when they are committing crimes. He cited the need for involuntary commitment for individuals with mental health issues, emphasizing the importance of institutionalizing those who pose a danger to society.
Former President Donald Trump, who is currently the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and a chief rival of DeSantis, has also called for more institutionalization of individuals with mental health issues in the past. DeSantis believes that the country has become more liberal and that there should be a shift towards institutionalizing more people.
DeSantis’s stance on red flag laws and gun control measures comes in the wake of a mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, where at least 18 people were killed. While DeSantis does not believe that Florida’s red flag law would have made a difference in this specific case, he suggests that involuntary commitment would have been more effective in preventing such tragedies.
Despite DeSantis’s reservations about red flag laws, he continues to emphasize the need for accountability and holding individuals responsible for their actions. He believes that the country needs more institutionalization for those who pose a danger to society, and he intends to make this case to the public.
As the debate surrounding gun control measures continues, it is clear that different perspectives exist on the effectiveness of red flag laws in preventing mass shootings and reducing crime rates. While some argue that these laws are necessary to remove firearms from dangerous individuals, others believe that the focus should be on addressing mental health issues and enforcing existing laws. Ultimately, the decision on how to address gun violence rests with lawmakers and the public.
0. “Ron DeSantis calls for institutionalizing more people instead of nationalizing Florida’s red flag law” CBS Miami, 27 Oct. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/miami/news/ron-desantis-calls-for-institutionalizing-more-people-instead-of-nationalizing-floridas-red-flag-law/
1. “DeSantis criticizes ‘Red Flag’ law after Maine mass killing” WCTV, 27 Oct. 2023, https://www.wctv.tv/2023/10/27/desantis-criticizes-red-flag-law-after-maine-mass-killing/