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Red flag laws needed to help stop mass shootings

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Perhaps the needle is finally moving. Politicians in Washington and in Madison have so far largely refused to even debate the idea of red flag laws. 17 states currently have such a law on the books, allowing police or a family member to petition the court to temporarily remove guns from the possession of someone who may be showing signs of mental instability or making threats of violence. President Trump, in his statements condemning the recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, called for such a law on the federal level. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers is calling on the state legislature to take up similar bills on the state level. There has been no comment yet from Republican leaders who control the state legislature, but in the past they have rejected calls for such a law. In fact, they won’t even schedule a debate on the idea. Meanwhile, innocent people going about their business in public places like a retail store or bars are being gunned down at record rates. The president of the gun rights group Wisconsin Carry calls a red flag law a gun grab. But clearly there are people who shouldn’t have guns. A judge would decide whether that person poses a real threat. If not, their guns would be returned. But if they were determined a threat, it is possible that lives would be saved. It is time for our lawmakers to stop hiding behind the NRA, and at least begin the debate about how to stop these repeated mass shootings.

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