Florida considered national leader in "red flag" laws execution

Published: Aug. 7, 2019 at 4:13 PM EDT
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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service

August 7, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Florida is considered, by some, to be the best model in the nation when it comes to red flag laws.

The laws allow a judge to take away a person’s guns for up to a year if they have made credible threats.

Between March of last year, when the state passed red flag legislation, and August 5, 1,707 people have had their weapons taken temporarily by a court.

“It’s working extremely well,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Gualtieri, who is also President of the Florida Sheriff’s Association, is a big supporter of the law.

“And, there’s no doubt in my mind that the we have prevented violence because of it,” said Gualtieri.

Governor Ron DeSantis likes the policy as well, but thinks when it comes to mass shootings, threat assessments identifying politically motivated and other threats could be more effective.

“And you have some people who are just crazy and there’s no clear motivation. So I think you have to be familiar with all those kinds of threats and have the warning signs identified and do something about it,” said DeSantis.

Research by the Department of Law Enforcement shows that most mass shooters displayed four or five markers that should have been identified in a threat assessment.

“Get the right people in the room, sharing the right information, you can see a person that’s on this pathway, and hopefully intercept that person,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen.

On August 1, the state launched a threat assessment portal for schools and law enforcement to share information.

That information is confidential.

Under the same law passed after the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglass, every school in the state must have a threat assessment team in place when the school year begins later this month.