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Deadly Colorado Springs shooting sparks questions about the issuing of red flag laws


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The suspected gunman, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was arrested in 2021 over a connection to a bomb threat. In June 2021, Aldrich’s mother reported that her son was threatening her with a bomb, ammunition, and some other weapons.

Court records show that Aldrich was not prosecuted under this accusation though there were talks with law enforcement negotiators and residents in the nearby homes were evacuated.

This previous incident has since raised questions over America’s ‘red flag’ gun laws which are enforced differently and haphazardly across the US.

The red flag law is a state court order which can see the court enforce the temporary removal of firearms from an individual who is thought to be a danger to themselves or others.

The courts can issue “extreme risk protection orders” under red flag laws which has been pushed as a crucial element of gun safety.

Red flag laws when enforced correctly, are believed to play a major role in preventing mass shooting such as the one seen at Club Q in Colorado Springs.

However, currently the enforcement of such laws is disparate across the US with data showing differences across the 19 states that have implemented them.

Colorado was one of the states with the lowest amount of red flag enforcements, but it remains unclear if it would have changed the events on Saturday.

The shooting is still being investigated into whether it was a hate crime and Police have not released when or how the suspect acquired the firearms which were located at the scene.

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The state passed the law at the beginning of 2020 and in the first year, one study concluded that there were 109 filings in Colorado.

However, Florida passed the law in 2018 and over 9,000 orders have been filed since its first year which saw the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting which left 17 dead.

Professor Knoepke is working in Colorado with state officials to increase and develop the training surrounding the red flag enforcement.

He said: “It’s heart breaking when you hear one of these stories, and you worry that an opportunity was missed to potentially do something about it.”


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