red flag law

variants: or red-flag law
plural red flag laws or red-flag laws

Definition of red flag law

: a law allowing courts to prevent people who show signs of being a danger to themselves or to others from having access to firearms (as by ordering the seizure of weapons) In the wake of massacres similar to Wednesday's school shooting in Parkland, Fla., a small number of states have passed "red flag laws" that allow the seizure of guns before people can commit acts of violence. … Mental illness, escalating threats, substance abuse and domestic violence are among the circumstances in which a judge can order weapon restrictions under the statutes.— Lenny Bernstein The way red-flag laws work is straightforward. After hearing a petition from a family member or a law-enforcement officer with knowledge that someone is a credible danger to themselves or others, a judge can issue an order allowing for the temporary seizure of firearms belonging to that individual.— Scott Sexton

First Known Use of red flag law

2015, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of red flag law was in 2015

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Cite this Entry

“Red flag law.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

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