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‘Red flag ‘ laws could reduce gun violence — but not how some lawmakers say (VIDEO)

NBC NEWS.COM August 13, 2019 – Legislation in the works to combat the scourge of mass shootings in the United States may have a greater impact on another problem that claims more American lives each year.

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., are working on a bill to encourage states to implement “red flag” laws, measures that would allow law enforcement to temporarily seize guns from people found to be a danger to themselves or to others.

“My goal is to have a system that can identify truly a person about to blow, and do something about it before it’s too late,” Graham told reporters Friday. He noted earlier in the week that many recent mass shootings “involved individuals who showed signs of violent behavior that are either ignored or not followed up. State red flag laws will provide the tools for law enforcement to do something about many of these situations before it’s too late.”

Experts and law enforcement officials told NBC News that it’s true that this type of legislation — one of a handful of gun control options that members of Congress are weighing after massacres in Gilroy, California, Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas — has real potential to reduce gun violence and save lives. It could stop some mass shootings, they said, as Graham suggested. But red flag laws are even more likely to prevent suicides, which annually account for the most gun deaths in America.

According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the almost 40,000 Americans who died from guns in 2017, about 60 percent were suicides. [Read More]

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