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Paulsen Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Address Gun Violence

Reps. Paulsen, Deutch, Dingell, Brooks and Upton at a news conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

Washington –Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) on Wednesday joined Representatives Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) at a news conference on Capitol Hill to announce the introduction of the Jake Laird Act, bipartisan legislation named for an Indiana police officer shot and killed in 2004 by a man who struggled with mental illness.

The bill provides grants to encourage states to adopt gun violence restraining order laws, which enable local law enforcement, with probable cause, to seize and retain firearms from individuals who are determined to be an imminent danger to themselves or others. The laws include a requirement for timely due process. Five states, including Indiana, have such laws, which are also known as Red Flag laws.

“As we learned in the Parkland, Florida shooting, often before a violent crime is committed by someone coping with mental illness, the warning signs are there,”said Congressman Paulsen. “But unless that individual is otherwise prohibited from owning a firearm, law enforcement is powerless to act. Gun violence restraining orders enable law enforcement to safely get guns out of the hands of people who may be of danger to themselves or others. This a common-sense bipartisan approach to reducing gun violence.”

Since the enactment of the Jake Laird Law in Indiana, studies have shown that the law has been used primarily on individuals who have threatened suicide (68%) or when an individual has threatened violence against another (21%).  Individuals have expressed active psychosis in 16% of the cases of seizure. In one instance, an elderly person who was suffering from Alzheimer’s became convinced her home was being attacked constantly by intruders. Her weapons were removed at the request of her family members who became concerned they would be targeted as intruders as they came to visit her.