Red Flag Laws and the American Gun Flag

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A 45 caliber handgun resting against a copy of the United States constitution and the american flag, symbolizing Americas 2nd Amendment, the right to bear arms.

American gun flag flew over Fort McHenry and inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to what would become our national anthem during the War of 1812 is now displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The enduring image of the 15 stars and 15 stripes reflects America’s resilience and courage in times of conflict. But the story behind how our country’s iconic flag came to be is less well known.

Exploring the History of the Blood-Stained Banner Flag

Since the high-profile mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a common refrain has been: Could red flag laws have prevented this? Such laws, on the books in less than half of US states, generally require that those deemed to be a threat turn over their weapons for a specified period of time. Research shows that they’ve led to significant drops in firearm suicides and may have prevented dozens of mass shootings. Yet they’re frequently rebuffed by lawmakers on the right, who argue that they infringe on due process rights.

A number of states have enacted red flag laws, including New York, Connecticut, and Florida. But California’s law is among the most elaborate, allowing family members to petition the courts directly for an order to confiscate a relative’s firearms. Other states have more modest laws, like those in Oregon and Indiana.

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