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Conn. House approves update to Red Flag Law

Connecticut enacted the nation's first “Red Flag” law in 1999.  The Risk Warrant or a Risk Protection Order temporarily removes firearms from a person who may pose a danger to themselves or others.  The state House yesterday updated the law to allow family members and medical providers to initiate an investigation. Currently, two police officers or a prosecutor are required in order to seek a warrant to seize firearms.

Bethel Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan commended town resident Jenn Lawlor and her family for their during the public hearing process. Her daughter, 25-year old Emily Todd, was killed in Bridgeport in 2018 by a man she met through an online dating app, but had called off the relationship.

The bill would add a provision allowing the risk warrants to prevent someone from purchasing weapons. Currently, the law only considers firearms that are already in a person’s possession. The proposal also changes the duration of the risk warrants, making them persistent until the affected person applies to have the order vacated by a court. Under current law, the order lasts for one year with no ability to extend it or terminate it early.

A judge still has to deem the person an imminent risk; the gun owner is still guaranteed a hearing within 14 days. They can also go back to the judge in 180 days.

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Jim Bohannon

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