Senator Susan Collins of Maine met with other senators and used a congressional hearing to push for the passage of legislation similar to Maine’s yellow flag gun law to prevent mass shootings like Tuesday’s massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
The Republican raised the issue Tuesday night, just hours 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School.
“The brutal attack on school children and teachers in Uvalde, Texas is a horrific crime,” Collins said in a statement. “While we’re still awaiting more details, it’s hard to believe anyone doing this wasn’t seriously mentally ill. Congress should consider enacting yellow flag legislation based on what we have in the Maine, who has due process rights and also involves a medical professional in the decision.
On Wednesday, Collins’ office said the senator was working on gun safety legislation with a group of bipartisan senators. Collins, a moderate known for crossing party lines, spoke with Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, Wednesday morning. Senators have been discussing the possibility of introducing yellow and red flag legislation, said Collins spokeswoman Annie Clark.
Maine’s so-called “yellow flag” law was the result of a bipartisan compromise. It creates a process for police to temporarily remove firearms from people who are at risk of harming themselves or others. Unlike other states with similar laws, Maine requires a physician to agree to sign the application. This provision was essential for broad legislative support for the bill in 2019.
Extreme risk protection orders, sometimes called red flag laws, allow family members or law enforcement officers to ask a court to temporarily remove the weapons of a person who poses a risk to itself or for others. Nineteen states currently have red flag laws, including GOP-controlled states such as Florida and Indiana.
Murphy became a strong supporter of gun control after the December 2012 massacre of 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
He gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor after Tuesday’s shooting.
“What do we do?” Murphy asked. The Democrat, who represented Newtown when he was a US congressman, urged his colleagues to find a compromise.
“I am here on this floor to beg – to literally get on all fours – to beg my colleagues. Find a way forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely,” he said.
Murphy said he was not trying to bully his GOP colleagues into passing legislation. “I know I have Republican partners,” he told Politico. “I know there are 10 Republicans who will vote for something under the right circumstances, with the right leadership.”
The senses. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, negotiated a red flag measure following two mass shootings that took place in San Antonio and Dayton, Ohio, in 2019. But their project bill failed to garner the 60 Senate votes needed to pass.
After speaking to Murphy, Collins spent part of an appropriations committee hearing on Wednesday afternoon questioning FBI Director Christopher Wray about gun safety legislation that could be enacted to prevent further tragedies. .
During the hearing, Collins promoted Maine’s yellow flag gun law, which allows law enforcement to temporarily confiscate the guns of someone who threatens to harm themselves or to harm others. For the gun to be confiscated, the actions must be approved following a medical evaluation and a court clearance — steps designed to protect Second Amendment rights.
Collins asked Wray for his opinion on the success of the red flag and yellow flag laws. Wray told Collins that these laws have proven most effective in preventing gun violence.
“In situations where law enforcement has successfully prevented an attack, it’s almost always because of someone like that showing up,” Wray said, referring to people who have noticed a change in the mood. behavior of a person who alarmed them and persuaded them to contact law enforcement.
“What we really need right now in this country is if you see something (unusual) in someone, say something, and if they do, let it be through laws like Maine or some other mechanism, it can be quite effective,” Wray said.
The FBI director said that if more states pass red or yellow flag laws, the FBI will ensure that its database maintains records of people whose weapons have been temporarily confiscated.
Murphy asked Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, to give a small bipartisan group of senators, including Collins, an additional 10 days to propose gun safety legislation — a request Schumer has granted. That will give Murphy and Collins this week and all of next week during the Senate recess to propose gun legislation.
Axios said the most realistic route to some form of gun safety measure would be through red flag legislation. Several Republicans still believe the decision should be left to individual states and not Congress, Axios reported.
Our take: Putting more guns on the streets was a choice