Democrats seek expansion to ‘red flag’ gun safety law

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Democratic lawmakers are pushing legislation that would allow family members to ask a court to take away a relative's gun if they believe there’s a risk to themselves or others.

The expansion of the state’s red flag law is drawing concerns from Second Amendment advocates.

The state’s ‘red flag’ gun safety law allows law enforcement to ask a court to take away a person's firearms if they’re a danger to themselves or others.

State Senator Lori Berman has filed a bill that would allow family members to do the same.

“Who better to determine that someone is at risk than someone living close to them?” said Berman.

Kate Kile with Moms Demand Action says family members could act as a first line of defense.

“Families know best what's happening in their own systems and they can be observing and watching these incremental changes that may be happening,” said Kyle.

There aren’t exact numbers for how many times the red flag law has been used by law enforcement since it took effect in July, but Senator Berman estimates it’s been invoked 400 times in Broward County alone.

Former NRA President Marion Hamer says the current law is already open to potential abuse by law enforcement. She worries adding in family dynamics would increase that risk.

“You don't want family members using a piece of legislation to be vindictive or vengeful or just plain mean,” said Hammer.

Senator Berman says those concerns are overstated.

“I don't think a family member would really want to go to court and subject themselves and their family to that unless they were really afraid of a true danger,” said Berman.

The legislation would also prohibit a person from keeping a gun in their home if they live with someone who has had their right to own a firearm revoked unless it is either disabled or kept in a locked safe.

Because families were intentionally left out of the original law, it's highly unlikely Democrats will be able to force it through this year.