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March 16, 2019 Becky Card, 202-225-2276
Brooks, Deutch, Upton & Dingell Reintroduce Gun Violence Reduction Bill: the Jake Laird Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, during National Police Week and Mental Health Awareness Month, U.S. Representatives Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05), Ted Deutch (D-FL22), Fred Upton (R-MI06) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI12) reintroduced the Jake Laird Act, a bipartisan bill named after an Indianapolis, Indiana, police officer who was shot and killed in 2004 in the line of duty by a man who struggled with mental illness.
This bill provides grants to encourage states to adopt laws, similar to Indiana’s 2005 Jake Laird Law, that enable local law enforcement, with probable cause, to temporarily remove and retain firearms from individuals who are determined to be an imminent danger to themselves or others.
“Red flag laws save lives and are already working in states across the country, including Indiana and Florida, to prevent devastating losses of life,” said Brooks. “As our country continues to grapple with how to keep our communities safe, the Jake Laird Act of 2019 will provide local law enforcement officers the tools and training necessary to help prevent senseless acts of violence from claiming more innocent lives. I am proud to reintroduce this bipartisan gun violence reduction tool that will help us better avoid situations that could jeopardize the lives of our loved ones, friends, and neighbors while also protecting individual constitutional rights.”
“Just last year, Florida and seven other states passed different versions of extreme risk protection order laws, giving law enforcement life-saving tools to intervene when people may pose a threat to themselves or others,” said Deutch. “When law enforcement investigates and finds a threat they should be able to act to keep our communities safe. This gun safety policy has earned bipartisan support from across the country. Congress should encourage and support even more states to adopt this policy that has already proven to save lives.”
“This bipartisan legislation will serve an important role as we work to prevent violent shootings in our country and keep our families safe,” said Upton. “With the Jake Laird Act, states like Michigan can receive grants by adopting common-sense ‘Red Flag’ laws – with stringent due process and probable cause – to prevent those in imminent danger to themselves or others to have firearms. Law enforcement remains on the front-lines of the fight against gun violence, and making sure they have another tool in their tool box would further help them protect our communities. I’ve heard from countless folks in my district – students, teachers, gun owners, and law enforcement officials – and they agree that the Jake Laird Act is just common-sense and something we need to get done.”
“When someone is a threat to themselves or others, family and law enforcement need tools to act before warning signs escalate into tragedies,” said Dingell. “The bipartisan Jake Laird Act builds on a successful Indiana law to help provide local law enforcement – who are on the frontlines of responding to these crises – with the resources necessary to keep communities safe, all while protecting due process.”
The Jake Laird Act of 2019 is endorsed by the Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police. “The Jake Laird Act is a common sense approach to keeping firearms out of the hands of those who have no reason to have them and who could harm themselves or others,” said President of the Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police Bill Owensby. “Anything that can be done to keep our first responders safer makes our citizens safer. The Indiana Fraternal Order of Police supports Congresswoman Brooks’ proposal.”
The Jake Laird Act of 2019 provides grants to states that enact laws substantially similar to Indiana’s Jake Laird Law. This grant funding will equip police officers with training and additional resources needed to deescalate life-threatening crisis situations and prevent future potentially deadly events from occurring in the first place. Since 2005, Indiana’s Jake Laird Law has been used over 700 times in Indianapolis alone.
The Jake Laird Act of 2019 respects constitutional Second Amendment protections for law-abiding gun owners and provides for due process by guaranteeing a day in court within 21 days. If the court rules that the individual is not a danger to self or others, his or her firearms will be swiftly returned.
For a one-page summary of the bill, click here.