Local law enforcement officials support a “Red Flag” law in Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Two law enforcement officials said public safety could improve if lawmakers in Des Moines passed a “Red Flag” law in Iowa.

The moniker is the umbrella term for what is known as an “extreme risk protection order” law. Red Flag laws, which exist in 19 states including Washington D.C., temporarily take guns away from someone deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Brian Gardner (D), who is the Linn County Sheriff, said his department can’t legally take away a gun when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis. He said the lack of authority to remove guns from unsafe people is frustrating for law enforcement.

“Sheriff’s offices, law enforcement officers even family members are pretty much hamstrung that they don’t have a lot to work with to help ensure that person does not pose a risk to health and safety,” Gardner said.

Janet Lyness (D), who is the Johnson County Attorney, also said Iowa needs a “Red Flag” Law. She said those laws allow law enforcement to take action if somebody is making threats.

“It’s not going to solve everything,” Lyness said. “But it’s one piece of the puzzle to try to decrease the gun violence we are seeing across the country.”

Both would need lawmakers in Des Moines to create a Red Flag Law, which there’s no draft published for a potential bill in Iowa. Iowa couldn’t pass a bill until next year unless there is a special session.


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