The Louisiana House will consider a bill that would enact a “red flag” law which would allow the seizure of firearms under a court order. The legislation, HB 483 by State Rep. Gary Carter (D-New Orleans) is modeled after legislation that has been enacted in other states.
The legislation would provide for a process where the district attorney’s office or two police officers could petition the court in order to temporarily remove firearms from anyone who threatens to harm themselves, others, or animals. If a judge agrees, a warrant could be issued that would allow law enforcement to search for and seize the firearms. If the firearms are seized, the owner of the firearms would be entitled to a hearing within 7 days.
At the hearing, one of two things would happen. The first is that the judge could order the firearms returned if they find that the person does not pose a threat to themselves or others. The second is the judge could find the gun owner poses a threat and order the firearms held for up to a year. But the district attorney’s office could extend that deadline for at least another year after another hearing.
Supporters of red flag laws claim the laws provide an opportunity to take guns away from potential attackers. They claim that the laws could possibly save lives.
Opponents of the laws claim that the laws strip gun owners of their due process rights. They also point out that the laws could place the police officers who would be tasked with enforcing them in danger. In fact, last year a police officer in Maryland was killed while enforcing that state’s red flag law. Finally, other opponents point to research that current red flag laws had no impact on crime rates, at best.
The bill has been assigned to the House Administration of Criminal Justice committee.