UC Davis researchers say California's three-year-old Red Flag gun law is working as envisioned. The so-called Gun Violence Restraining Order has likely prevented as many as 21 potential mass shootings, they claim. The findings were based on 159 cases for which court records were provided.
The red flag order allows law enforcement to temporarily take guns away from individuals who are considered to be at risk of killing or injuring themselves or others after a judge approves.
Anyone petitioning for a temporary emergency GVRO must prove that the person considered to be a risk poses "an immediate and present danger." Higher standards are applicable for efforts to get a court order without the person in question having the chance to argue against the order.
The data show that most of the subjects of the GVROs were "non-Hispanic" white males ranging in age from 14 to 65. Most of the subjects reportedly made specific threats and already owned firearms. In three of the cases studied the subjects had only recently bought a gun but had not taken possession yet because of California's 10-day mandatory waiting period. In those cases the GVROs stopped them from getting the guns.
The researchers say their work emphasizes the importance of family members, friends, acquaintances or co-workers coming forward to report an individual who they reasonably feel may be a threat.