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GIFFORDS: States Must Pass ‘Red Flag’ Laws in Wake of Tennessee Shooting

GIFFORDS secured funding in the Bipartisan Safer Community Act to help states build extreme risk protection order programs

Washington DC — Today, GIFFORDS, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, released the following statement calling for Tennessee to strengthen its gun laws. 

Peter Ambler, GIFFORDS Executive Director and Co-Founder: 

“This horrific tragedy underscores why violence intervention and extreme risk protection order laws are so important. The Nashville shooter bought multiple guns legally and their parents were concerned about their access to guns. In states with extreme risk protection orders, family members or law enforcement have a legal process they can use to ensure those who pose a danger to themselves or others don’t have guns. Last year’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which GIFFORDS was proud to help craft, provided $750 million for states to implement these lifesaving laws. State governments across the country must adopt these proven gun violence reduction policies as soon as possible.”

Tennessee’s Failure to Enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders:

Tennessee’s Office of Criminal Justice Programs (OCJP) recently applied for and was awarded more than $6 million from the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program (SCIP) created by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This new federal funding provides an opportunity for states to address the often unrecognized issues associated with easy access to guns and may be used for related court-based, behavioral health deflection and gun safety programs or initiatives, including specialized court-based programs such as drug, mental health, and veterans treatment courts, and behavioral risk deflection for those at risk to themselves or others. One of the most potentially impactful uses of this funding would be to implement an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) law and enable families, household members, and law enforcement agencies to petition courts to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms before they commit violence. Properly implemented and utilized extreme risk laws may help to prevent mass shootings and gun homicides. However, because Tennessee’s legislature refuses to enact an extreme risk law, the state of Tennessee is losing a critical opportunity to make a lifesaving tool available to the public and law enforcement and improve public safety in the state.


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