White House Leans Into Red Flag Laws

by Tommy Grant
Kamala Harris

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Using the political backdrop of an unspeakable day of horror to further the Biden Administration’s agenda, Vice President Kamala Harris visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., to encourage more states to pass red-flag laws and in states that already have them, to use federal funding to enforce those laws more vigorously. Harris also announced the creation of a federal National Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Resource Center, which is being created to support the implementation and furtherance of red-flag laws. ERPO’s are the official name of red-flag laws, which are laws designed to provide a legal means for family members or law enforcement to remove firearms from the home of and bar access to guns for people they believe to be suffering from some mental distress—distress that could potentially manifest itself into violent acts toward others or themselves.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was the site of a deadly school shooting in 2018 that left 17 people dead. The shooter was a former student of the school. The Biden Administration orchestrated the announcement to lean into as much of the tragedy as possible, using family members holding photos of some of the shooting’s victims and standing behind Harris as props as she gave her speech. She also toured the school prior to the media event. The school is no longer in use.

“We have a duty to remember and a duty to bear witness to what happened here,” Harris said. “We must do better.”

In a “fact sheet” that is more verifiably taxpayer funded campaign propaganda, the White House released the following information prior to Harris’ speech:

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to preventing gun violence. President Biden and Vice President Harris worked to enact the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), the most significant gun safety law in nearly 30 years. Following this, the President created the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which is being overseen by Vice President Harris. The unprecedented Office is accelerating the implementation of BSCA, identifying new executive actions, partnering with state and local officials, and coordinating the first ever federal interagency response to mass shootings and concentrations of community violence. The President has also taken more executive actions on preventing gun violence than any other President.

The statement then noted Harris is proposing the following:

First, Vice President Harris is announcing the launch of the first-ever National Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Resource Center, which will support the effective implementation of state red flag laws.

  • The Resource Center will assist states, local governments, law enforcement, prosecutors, attorneys, judges, clinicians, victim service providers, and behavioral health and other social service providers in optimizing the usage of red flag laws – laws that allows a family member or law enforcement to seek a court order to temporarily take away access to guns if they feel a gun owner may harm themselves or others.
  • The Resource Center will provide training and technical assistance, which will include developing and disseminating educational opportunities and workshops for a wide variety of stakeholders, providing implementation support, supporting peer-to-peer engagements with model learning sites, performing site assessments, and developing presentations and webinars that will advance states and localities’ knowledge in key areas related to ERPOs.
  • The Resource Center is funded by a Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance grant made possible by BSCA and is run by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.

Second, the Vice President is calling on states to pass red flag laws and to use BSCA funding to help implement laws already enacted.

  • The Biden-Harris Administration made $750 million in federal funding to implement state crisis intervention programs, which includes red flag programs, mental health courts, drug courts, and veteran treatment courts. In February 2023, DOJ awarded over $238 million (covering FY22 and FY23) to 51 states, territories, and the District of Columbia that applied to use the funds to implement state crisis intervention programs. DOJ anticipates making up to an additional $141 million in awards in FY24.
  • When it comes to red flag programs, this funding can be used to train (1) judiciary and court staff on red flag proceedings, (2) what family members can do when they see warning signs, and (3) first responders on recognizing signs of crisis. The funding can also be used to raise public awareness about red flag laws, distribute written and multimedia materials (including in multiple languages), and publish best practices.
  • Of the 21 states and territories with red flag laws, only 6 are accessing the BSCA funding to implement their red flag laws. The remaining 15 states with red flag laws are strongly encouraged to use BSCA’s funding to implement their red flags laws.
  • The 29 states without red flag laws should enact those laws and ensure effective implementation, supported by this BSCA funding.

Fox News reported that the new program “drew immediate backlash” from some Republicans.

“What the hell is this evil? A Federal Red Flag center; We did not authorize this. Announced, of course, just hours after the omnibus passes,” Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie wrote in a post on X.

“Merrick Garland just announced a massive Red Flag Operation that the DOJ will be running by using EVERY spy tool the US government has in order to violate American’s Second Amendment!! This comes right after Johnson fully funded Biden’s weaponized DOJ!” Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wrote on X.

Biden made gun control a centerpiece of his recent State of the Union address in which he invoked the anti-gunners’ favorite “whipping boy,” the NRA.

“I’m proud we beat the NRA when I signed (the) most significant gun safety law in nearly 30 years because of this Congress. We now must beat the NRA again. I’m demanding a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Pass universal background checks,” Biden said. “None of this — none of this — I taught the Second Amendment for 12 years. None of this violates the Second Amendment or vilifies responsible gun owners.”

(Editor’s Note: We can’t imagine how inaccurate that class instruction must have been.)

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