Indiana’s red flag law successful in preventing violence, amid national call for similar policies

Indiana's red flag law successful in preventing violence

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - Speaking out about the two mass shootings that shocked the nation this weekend, President Donald Trump on Monday highlighted how red flag gun laws can help to prevent future tragedies.

Indiana is one of 15 states, in addition to Washington DC, with that protection already in place.

For more than 10 years now, Clark County has successfully utilized the law to better protect those living in the area.

"It's my belief that this has saved lives in Clark County and in the state of Indiana," said Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull.

The red flag law allows officers to seize weapons from someone shown to be dangerous, at-risk of hurting themselves or others. Those weapons aren’t held indefinitely. Under the state’s red flag law, they’re required to hold a hearing within the court system within 14 days to show that the person is considered dangerous and that those weapons should be held.

If those weapons are ordered to be held, they’re able to come back before the courts every 180 days to try to get the weapons back. Mull said in many cases, people get their weapons back, as they demonstrate to the court that they’re no longer a danger to themselves or to others.

And they use the law sparingly, so as not to violate someone’s second amendment rights. Each month, Mull said they’ll get one or two requests to seize weapons under the law.

“I’ve used this law a number of times," Mull said. "I can think of one particular time where an individual was threatening to shoot and kill co-workers at a large manufacturing plant in Clark County and at that factory, the employees were scared to come to work.”

Using red flag, Mull said they seized a large number of weapons at that employee’s home, the seizure making co-workers more comfortable to come to work and protecting the community.

Whitney Austin, who was shot inside a Cincinnati bank in 2018 said other states should pass similar measures.

“I think there’s one very obvious thing we can do right now together to save lives, it’s to pass extreme risk protection orders for the states of Kentucky and Ohio,” Austin said.

President Trump, too, called for red flag laws Monday while speaking about the weekend’s mass shootings in Ohio and Texas.

“We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process,” President Trump said.

It’s difficult, Mull said, to see shootings and acts of violence take place, in Clark County and around the country. He said if something tragic like a mass shooting can be prevented, it’s important that steps are put into place to help do so.

“People will say, there were all these warning signs and we tried to tell somebody this is a dangerous person who was going to kill someone and nothing was done,” Mull said. “And in Indiana and especially, Clark County, I don’t ever want that to happen. So when I become aware of someone who is threatening violence or acting violently, and I become aware that they’re in possession of a firearm, I take immediate action.”

Mull said he's seen this successfully allow courts to get ahead of dangerous behavior, making big strides toward preventing suicides and possible shootings or tragedies from taking place.

“I think it’s absolutely a tool that needs to be in the toolbox of every prosecutor in America,” Mull said.

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