Michigan Rep. Calls For 'Red Flag Legislation' To Seize Guns From People Deemed Dangerous

August 05, 2019 - 4:37 pm

LANSING (WWJ) - An Oakland County lawmaker is calling for a new law he says will help prevent gun deaths in Michigan. 

State Rep. Robert Wittenberg, a Democrat representing the Royal Oak area, is sponsoring so-called "Red Flag Legislation" which would allow a judge to temporarily take away firearms from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. 

"Only family members or law enforcement can initiate this," Wittenberg told WWJ Newsradio 950. "And they have to go to a judge, present evidence and they the judge can decide and they can grant the order. And, again, it's temporary, so we're not indefinitely taking their weapons away."

Wittenberg said the 15 other states that have passed similar legislation have seen gun violence reduced. 

"We don't take it lightly, to try to take someone's weapons away, and currently, unless you do commit a crime, you cannot take someone's weapons away from them," he said, adding: "We're not saying that this is the solution that's gonna end gun violence in our state. We know there's not one measure that's going to do that."

Wittenberg said lawmakers have been discussing this move since long before after two mass shootings, less than 24 hours apart in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio took the lives of 31 people. 

"The mass shootings are tragic and they're horrible when they happen, but when you look at gun violence in general, two-thirds of gun violence is actually suicide, the guns deaths or suicide. So this is actually a strong measure to be able to prevent suicide," Wittenberg said. 

Cosponsoring the legislation is Rep. Mari Manoogian of Birmingham who tweeted: "Our constituents are begging for us to take action. Let’s get this done so our communities are safe."

President Donald Trump addressed the nation on Monday in the wake of thr two deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend. He blamed violent video games and mental health for the shooting and called for red flag laws as a measure of gun control.

Among those opposed to such laws is the National Rifle Association (NRA), which says they hinder a citizen's right to due process.