DC government on the cusp of adopting ‘Red Flag' gun laws

The District government is about to join Maryland and 12 other states in enacting what is commonly known as a "Red Flag" law.

The new law is a statute that would allow officers to remove firearms from people who are believed to be a danger to themselves and others.

The chairman of the D.C. city council, Phil Mendelson, says the votes are in place to pass the measure.

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen explained how the law would work.

"The courts can move very quickly on the first part to temporarily remove that firearm -- often times it might be for a week or two -- giving time for a full court hearing and then the court can make a decision even up to a year if they have the full evidence and preponderance of the evidence to back that up," he said.

Allen says, if passed, the statute will allow family members, law enforcement officers and mental health professionals to go to court if they have concerns someone with access to firearms may become violent.

The statute also includes illegal firearms.

Under the new law, family members would be able to go to court knowing the person with access to the firearm will have immunity from prosecution for possessing it.

Maryland recently enacted a Red Flag law of its own, and police departments and sheriff's offices across the state have been carrying out court orders.

Under Allen's new Firearms Safety Omnibus Amendment Act, bump stocks would be outlawed in the District. Anyone arrested with an extended magazine would face three years in prison instead of one.

Sarah Dachos of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America says the Red Flag laws in 13 states have already saved lives and she applauds what the city council is doing.

"For the council to say you know what, we passed the NEAR ACT, we are doing a lot to try to prevent gun violence and other types of violence in the city, but we still got to do more -- we are taking this seriously. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is very encouraged by that and we fully support the city council," she said.