House passes bill to allow judge to take guns away

House passes bill to allow judge to take guns away

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a red-flag bill that would allow a judge to take firearms away from a person who poses an imminent danger to themselves or others.

The bill, one of several gun safety measures taken up in the House in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y. and Uvalde, Texas, is viewed as having a greater chance than some of the other legislation that is advancing in the evenly split Senate.

On the House floor, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N. Y., said the measure, which would allow a judge to issue an order temporarily preventing a person from purchasing or possessing firearms, could save lives. He said there's a theme that comes up most often: Someone deeply troubled, having easy access to firearms, and one that may be different in mass shooting cases. The warning signs were clear, and nothing was done to keep guns out of their hands before it was too late, Nadler said. He said that the bill provides a sensible means by which someone who is exhibiting dangerous behavior can't be prevented from possessing or purchasing a firearms before tragedy strikes. Nadler said that more than a dozen states already have similar laws on the books, and that the measures have saved lives. In the first three years, California enacted its red-flag law, the measure was invoked in 58 mass shooting threats, including six where a minor threatened a school, he said.

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La. He urged his colleagues to vote against the bill, saying that it would allow the courts to take guns away from people without notice and give them the right to appear in the hearing and defend themselves in court. Johnson said that due process is not a requirement for those people to be able to petition the court to get their weapons back. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., touted the legislation in an interview with NBC News earlier this week.

McBath, who lost her 17-year-old son after a man complained about loud music opened fire on a car of teens at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida in 2012, said red-flag laws work to prevent school and mass shootings. They work to keep people from accessing a weapon when they think they might be contemplating suicide. They can be used to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them. On Wednesday, the House passed a legislative package that would raise the minimum age to buy semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 years, but it is not expected to advance in the Senate, where a bipartisan group of senators has been working on their own package.