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Red flag laws allow a court to take away a person’s weapons when there’s clear evidence that the person represents a potential threat to themselves or others.
The person has the right to a hearing and legal representation, and the removal is temporary.
Kari Lake has said publicly she opposes red flag laws.
A new bipartisan federal firearms law, the Safer Communities Act, includes a provision that provides money for states to implement so-called red flag laws.
These laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily take firearms away from a person who poses a threat to themselves or others.
An ad from the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety said that Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake would not implement red flag laws.
"Kari Lake is opposed to red flag laws that would stop mass shootings," said the Oct. 10 ad.
We can’t check whether such laws would prevent mass shootings, but we can check her stance on this issue. Lake is against this legislation.
Red flag laws are meant to remove weapons from dangerous people before a crime or tragedy occurs — hence the phrase "red flag."
The process allows people to petition a civil court to temporarily remove that person’s firearms. Red flag laws are sometimes called extreme risk protection orders (shorthanded as ERPOs); gun violence restraining orders; or state crisis intervention orders.
The 2018 mass shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, for example, was the subject of two tips to the FBI about his plans and of multiple 911 calls about his behavior for years before the shooting.
Each state’s law sets rules for who can start the petition process. Most petitions are filed by law enforcement, and courts usually grant them.
Once the court receives a petition, judges must follow their state law that explains what criteria a judge must or could consider. If the threat of harm is imminent, courts can issue an emergency order without a hearing, ordering the removal of people’s guns. But those orders last only a few days to three weeks. Before issuing a final order, a court holds a hearing at which the people can testify on their own behalf or bring a lawyer. In most states, the maximum length of a final order is one year.
There are red flag laws in 19 states, plus the District of Columbia. Arizona, with relatively few firearm restrictions, has no such law.
A provision on extreme risk protection orders was part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that Congress passed in June. The law provides $750 million over five years for states to use for several kinds of crisis intervention programs, with red flag laws being one option. If states choose, they can use the money to implement a red flag law, so long as they follow federal rules to protect the due process rights of people who have their firearms taken away.
Lake has consistently opposed red flag laws. In a Sept. 21, 2021, interview with GunFreedomRadio, she said she saw no need for them. She later tweeted the same point.
"The entire Country should be a sanctuary for the Second Amendment," Lake tweeted Sept. 24, 2021, "No red flag Laws. N magazine capacity bans. No ‘Gun-Free’ Zones. Shall. Not. Be. Infringed."
Lake repeated that position this summer.
"I think I can speak for most moms in America: you can shove your ‘red flag laws’ where the sun don’t shine," she tweeted June 16. "I dare you to try and throw us on lists and come after our firearms."
Everytown for Gun Safety pointed to Lake’s tweets as evidence for its claim. We reached out to the Lake campaign and did not hear back.
Everytown for Gun Safety said that "Kari Lake is opposed to red flag laws."
Lake has said publicly several times that she does not support red flag laws.
We rate this claim True.
Everytown for Gun Safety, Threat (Arizona), Oct. 10, 2022
Everytown for Gun Safety, We’re the largest gun violence prevention organization in America—and we’re winning, accessed Nov. 3, 2022
The Behan Law Group, Arizona Gun Laws: Know Your Rights, accessed Nov. 3, 2022
Kari Lake, tweet, Sept. 24, 2021
Kari Lake, tweet, June 16, 2022
GunFreedomRadio, The AZ Governor’s Race with Kari Lake, Sept. 1, 2021
PBS, ‘Red flag’ laws get little use even as a mass shootings, gun deaths soar, Sept. 2, 2022
Congress.gov, S.2938 - Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, June 25, 2022
PolitiFact, Ask PolitiFact: What are red flag gun laws and do they keep people safe?, June 10, 2022
Republican Policy Committee, The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, June 22, 2022
National Association of Counties, Congress clears bipartisan gun legislation, June 29, 2022
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