VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio have brought the Red Flag Law to the front of American's conversation.
Indiana is one of 18 states to enforce the Red Flag Law, however, it goes by a different name. Here it's called the Jake Laird Law named after the police officer who lost his life in 2004 due to a mentally ill gunman shooting and killing him. The very next year, the law was unanimously passed by the Indiana General Assembly.
Red Flag laws have been in the headlines. They allow a court to remove a person's guns when that person is believed to be a possible threat. Do you think laws like this are a good idea or do they go too far? @DominicWTHI #wthitv #RedFlagLaw #Poll
— WTHI News10 (@WTHITV) August 14, 2019
The law allows law enforcement to temporarily seize guns from people who are seen as a danger to themselves or to others. It also includes due process for gun owners. They are allowed to regain possession of their weapons once the court system deems them as stable.
Law enforcement does not need a warrant or a judge's signature to enforce this law, however, Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse says first, there must be definite probable cause. His department carefully reviews cases with judges and the prosecutor's office to reinforce that this law is necessary to be used in a particular situation.
"We support second amendment rights of people," Plasse said, "But if they are acting in a way that they are a danger to themselves or others, law enforcement has to take action."
Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesittagrees and says the public plays a huge role in assisting law enforcement with this law. "We need the public to provide the police information and to inform people if they are aware of someone that is dangerous and has access to weapons," Modesitt said, "That's the key to the whole situation. Identifying and finding out who those people are before anything happens."
Both men are in full support of enforcing the law. Last year, Vigo County deputies used the law to seize hundreds of guns from a man's house who they say posed a potential threat. Since the law went into effect in 2005, Indiana has seen a 7.5% decrease in gun suicides."
"I can't understand why any state wouldn't have this law," Modesitt said.
President Trump recently called the Red Flag Law an "extreme risk protection order" and has publicly expressed his support for more states to begin enforcing it.