Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Indiana
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Rep. Brooks hopeful states adopt red flag laws

Aug 15, 2019
In The News

ANDERSON – After the latest round of mass shootings across the country, U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks is hoping to get passage of a national “red flag” law.

Indiana is one of 17 states that currently have a “red flag” law. Indiana's law was adopted in 2005 and named after slain police officer Jake Laird.

The law allows law enforcement officials to seize weapons from an individual that could be a danger to themselves or others. A court has to approve the return of the weapon.

Brooks, R-5th District, said during a Thursday interview with The Herald Bulletin her proposed federal legislation would provide grants to encourage states to adopt similar laws.

She said the proposed legislation requires both due process and probable cause, enabling local law enforcement to remove and retain firearms from individuals who are determined to be a danger to themselves or others.

“It is a state issue,” Brooks said. “The grant program would allow states to adopt the red flag law and train law enforcement officers and prosecutors about another tool to use.”

She said a study done in Indianapolis from 2006 through 2013 found the red flag law was used 700 times and the majority was for suicide prevention.

“It’s frustrating we can’t move this forward,” Brooks said. “There are objections to it because due process comes after the taking of the guns.”

She said the Indiana law has never been challenged in the court system.

The National Rifle Association at first was neutral on the legislation Brooks was working on in 2018, but then came out in opposition to it over the due process provisions.

Brooks said a bill introduced in the Senate would require due process in a court before a weapon is taken by law enforcement.

“It would be better than nothing,” she said. “I’m optimistic that something will come from this. I’m hopeful.”

As proposed in Brooks' legislation within 21 days, the court shall hold a hearing to determine whether the individual is dangerous. After 180 days an individual found to be dangerous by the court, an individual may petition the court to return the removed firearms. If denied there is another 180-day waiting period.