INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Part of President Joe Biden’s Thursday executive action aimed at reducing gun violence is a push for all states to adopt a national red flag law.
Indiana’s version already exists: It’s called the Jake Laird Law, named after an Indianapolis police officer who was shot and killed by a man who struggled with mental illness.
The law allows police to take guns away from a person they believe to be dangerous or mentally unstable.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said the president’s push for this type of law is something leaders in every state should get behind.
“It’s hard to rationalize why this is a bad thing. We are taking the guns out of the hands of people that have demonstrated that they have issues with mental instability, and it also gives law enforcement a way to proactively address this challenge of, what do I do with this person who maybe is not committing a crime at this particular moment in time but poses a threat or is dangerous to either himself or his family,” said Mears.
While the law has proved successful in many ways, Mears said because of a gray area in the code, issues have come up. He said once police take the weapons, nothing stops that person from going out and buying more.
“We actually had a case where law enforcement did react, come out to the scene, take weapons away from someone and then that individual ended up purchasing a firearm and killing their grandmother,” said Mears.
He said that loophole is one reason he is also in support of universal background checks.
Mears said the Jake Laird Law has also helped prevent a number of suicides in Marion County.
A 2018 University of Indianapolis study found a 7.5% decrease in firearm suicides statewide in the 10 years following enactment of the law.