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Maryland Has Red Flag Law That Allows Police To Take Guns From People Who Pose Threats, Mentally Ill

BALTIMORE (WJZ/CNN) -- During an address to the nation Monday following two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, President Donald Trump condemned "racism, bigotry and white supremacy" and showed support for "red flag laws" that would prevent people deemed mentally ill from having access to weapons.

Maryland is among the states that have a "red-flag law," which allows authorities to take guns from people who may pose a threat to themselves or others.


The law took effect Oct. 1, 2018. That month, there were 114 requests to restrict firearms access, and 36 of them were granted.

Maryland is among 15 states that have a "red flag law," --- including Connecticut, California, Washington, Oregon, Florida, Vermont, Rhode Island, Delaware, Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, Colorado, Nevada, Hawaii and DC.

An Extreme Risk Protection Orders may be applied against any individual who presents an "immediate and present" danger. The order requires the individual to then surrender all firearms in his or her possession and allows local law enforcement to seize the weapons from someone experiencing a mental crisis, be mentally ill or in distress. It also allows authorities to take the weapons to keep the person from hurting themselves or others.

Trump suggested Monday tying immigration legislation to strengthening background checks following a weekend in which the alleged shooter in El Paso, Texas, is believed to have authored a racist, anti-immigrant document targeting Hispanics.

Trump has previously expressed an openness to tougher action on gun control only to back away under pressure from Second Amendment activists and the gun lobby. He did not indicate in his tweets on Monday morning if he supported a sweeping gun control bill that passed the House with bipartisan support in February that requires universal background checks but has not been considered by the Senate.

"Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform," Trump wrote in a pair of tweets, adding, "We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!"

Trump also sought to blame the media for the weekend's rampages, saying coverage has "contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years," even though the President's rhetoric -- including calling illegal immigration an "infestation" -- has been scrutinized in the wake of the shooting and its potential connection to increased violence against immigrants.

In a televised address later Monday morning, Trump called on the nation to "condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy" but stopped short of acknowledging his own divisive and racist rhetoric. He did not mention background check legislation or tie any gun action to immigration. He did back so-called "red flag" laws that would prevent access to people who are mentally ill, and he cited video games as a cultural driver behind mass shootings.

The ERPO may be requested by a family member or another individual concerned about a person's safety or in the case of domestic violence. The petitioner could be concerned for their own safety or of the person with the guns.

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