Carbajal's Red Flag Laws Provision in Gun Safety Package Heads to President

Carbajal's Red Flag Laws Provision in Gun Safety Package Heads to President title=
Rep. Salud Carbajal (courtesy photo)
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Source: Office of Rep. Salud Carbajal

Today, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives sent to the President’s desk a proposal championed by Congressman Salud Carbajal which will expand the use of ‘red flag’ laws, a portion of a commonsense gun safety package crafted over the past month.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes multiple provisions to reduce gun deaths and keep American communities safe, including $750 million set aside for states to create and administer ‘red flag’ laws and other measures that can keep guns out of the hands of those who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.

This funding has been championed by Congressman Carbajal since his first year in Congress through this Extreme Risk Order Protection Act, which passed the House earlier this month in a bipartisan vote.

“This is a historic moment, one that is long overdue, but reason for celebration all the same because–make no mistake–this measure will save lives. In particular, I am proud to see members of both parties reach this agreement on the provisions promoting red flag laws that I have championed since my first days in Congress,” said Rep. Carbajal.“These measures will make a real difference in keeping our communities safe. Better implementation of red flag laws, which have been shown to work in California and elsewhere, will complement the strengthened background check and purchase oversight included in this measure. There is still work to be done, but I am confident that it will not be another 30 years before Congress can make additional progress to curb gun deaths and protect our children.”

"The passage of the Safer Communities Act honors my son, Chris, and the legacies of thousands of other sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and loved ones who have been taken by senseless gun violence in this country," said Richard Martinez, whose 20-year-old son, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, was one of six people killed in the Isla Vista shooting on May 23, 2014 near the campus of UC Santa Barbara. "This moment is personal for me and for everyone who has endured tragedy and demanded change from our lawmakers. I thank Congressman Carbajal for his leadership and look forward to continuing in this fight alongside him."

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act also includes:

·         Protecting for Victims of Domestic Violence by Closing the Boyfriend Loophole: by adding convicted domestic violence abusers in dating relationships to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

·         Banning Gun Trafficking & Cracking Down on Straw Purchases: Cracking down on criminals who illegally evade licensing requirements; clarifying which sellers need to register, conduct background checks, and keep appropriate records; and creating federal straw purchasing and trafficking criminal offenses for the first time, allowing prosecutors to target dangerous illegal gunrunners.

·         Adding Enhanced Background Checks for People Under 21: Requiring an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement, for buyers under 21 years of age, creating an enhanced, longer background check of up to ten days.

·         Funding Anti-Violence Community Initiatives: Providing $250 million in funding for community-based violence prevention initiatives.

·         Investing in Safe Schools: Investing in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including: early identification and intervention programs, school-based mental health and wrap-around services, improvements to school-wide learning conditions, and school safety.

·         Investing in Children & Family Mental Health Services: Supporting the national expansion of community behavioral health center model; improves access to mental health services for children, youth, and families through the Medicaid program and CHIP; increases access to mental health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth; and provides major investments at the Department of Health and Human Services to programs that expand provider training in mental health, support suicide prevention, crisis and trauma intervention and recovery.

More information on the bill can be found here.

Additional Background on ‘Red Flag’ Laws:

Earlier this month, the House passed Rep. Carbajal’s Extreme Risk Order Protection Act, which provides grants to encourage states to adopt ‘red flag’ laws and support the 19 states that have already implemented them.

Carbajal has championed this legislation since coming to Congress in 2017, not long after the 2014 U.C. Santa Barbara shooting inspired California to adopt one of the country’s first red flag laws. California’s law has been used to prevent mass shootings at workplaces and in hundreds of other instances of threatened violence.

Since Florida’s Republican legislature implemented their red flag law in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in 2018, law enforcement have used extreme risk laws more than 8,000 times to restrict and remove firearms from dangerous situations with known threats of violence and suicide, undoubtedly saving countless lives in the process.

In states like Indiana and Connecticut, passage of a red flag law was followed by a notable decline in suicide by firearm.

Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th congressional district, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County. He sits on the House Armed Services Committee, Agriculture Committee, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he serves as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.

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