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Government and Politics

Congressman Carbajal looks to reduce gun violence with red flag bill slated for vote in House

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Rep. Salud Carbajal | Courtesy of Rep. Salud Carbajal
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Last month, ten people were killed in a racist grocery store shooting in New York. Less than two weeks later, 21 people — mostly children — were killed in a school shooting in Texas.

Now, with the goal of reducing gun violence, Central Coast Democratic Congressman Salud Carbajal is pushing a red flag bill that’s up for a vote in the House Thursday morning.

The bill, H.R. 2377, would create a nationwide grant program to incentivize states to adopt Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO), which would encourage more regulations on gun ownership.

“It incentivizes states and communities that do not have red flag laws to develop them because it takes the funding out of the equation,” Congressman Carbajal said.

19 states, including California, already have red flag laws in place. ERPOs allow family members or law enforcement to petition a court to prevent an individual from accessing firearms if enough evidence shows they pose a threat to themselves or others.

A recent study by the U.S. Secret Service shows that prior to most school shootings, other people know about the perpetrator’s idea or plan to attack. Carbajal said this is why red flag laws are useful and are often supported by legislators on both sides of the aisle.

“These bills tend to be more bipartisan than other gun safety, common sense gun laws that have been proposed in the past,” Congressman Carbajal said.

Though, many high level conservative legislators, like Steve Scalise of Louisiana, do still oppose red flag laws, saying they are an abuse of constitutional rights.

The state of Oklahoma passed the nation’s first anti-red flag law back in 2020, which would prevent the state from utilizing something like the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act.

But, as the country is mourning the loss of life from recent mass shootings, Carbajal said he feels the time is now to get this legislation passed.

“I think right now there’s a window. As we know, after every mass shooting, there’s discussion. There’s momentum," Carbajal said. "And then, with every day that goes by that we don’t enact a law, the momentum diminishes.”

Carbajal said no one bill will solve the issue of gun violence, but red flag laws have been used in the past to prevent shootings in California and across the country.

“The more common sense laws that we pass, the safer our communities and our country will be,” Congressman Carbajal said.

The bill is up for a vote in the House Thursday morning. Carbajal expects it will pass.

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