The Trace: 1700-Plus Guns Seized From High-Risk Gun Owners

red flag laws extreme risk protectionorders

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

So, what exactly makes a “high-risk gun owner” high-risk?

Guns were temporarily taken from at least 1,700 potentially dangerous people last year as red flag laws gained traction. More than 1,000 of the gun removal orders were issued by courts in Florida, according to an AP analysis. In the wake of the Parkland massacre, Florida was one of nine states to  pass new red flag laws, which allow law enforcement and other designated parties to petition a court to temporarily seize the firearms from owners who pose a specific danger to themselves or others.

– The Trace, Red Flag Laws Disarmed 1700+ High-Risk Gun Owners Last Year


  1. avatar No one of consequence says:

    So if this is temporary … have any been returned to their owners yet? Preferably with an apology? If not, what’s the timeline for doing so?

    Or is this “temporary” like a temporary structure that’s been in use since the Carter administration?

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      IIRC, in Maryland something like 80% of seizures were initiated by police (not by family or acquaintances, the people who supposedly “know the person good enough” for courts to bypass the proper system of warrants & charges already in place) and hardly any of the guns were returned. Rather, judges predictably kept extending the ‘temporary’ order over & over, for like a year or two.

      This is nothing more than a means for police to make their jobs easier, by trampling all over the rule of law and becoming ever more similar to the thugs they purport to protect us from.

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        So if you jump over to VA and live there instead do you have the RKBA restored? You’re not convicted of a crime nor under misdemeanor charges of DV ( AKA the Schumer rule on the 4473) so why couldn’t a former MD resident pick up a gun in his new state?
        Or do these Red Flag rules follow their victims everywhere?
        If that’s the case then the case for leaving certain states becomes very clear. If you argue with the neighbors or co workers, or have an ex wife problem, or even a reputation as a hothead deserved or not then residing in certain states could get expensive. Not to mention the scarlet letter that comes from having guns seized could have on your employment and relationships.

        1. avatar barnbwt says:

          Good question. I do wonder if states like FL can/are uploading their ‘flag’ statuses to NICS. Legally, NICS wouldn’t have any obligation or authority to act upon those non-legally-binding flags, but I wonder if they could still use them to cause delays or other aggravation.

        2. avatar GS650G says:

          These actions exist in a quasi legal framework. You’ve got judges ruling from the bench and cops acting on the authority but there is no conviction, trial, or any other legal action.
          Property is being taken and obviously this is public record stuff searchable by anyone. It’s a conviction in the public opinion.

          That’s a lot of constitutional violations stacked up so people can claim they did something. If they did something about their second chance policies for offenders or actually committed some of these crazy shooters when they showed crazy we would not have “red flag laws” stepping on anyone who gave the finger to somebody.

          There are deeper problems with this than most people realize. When someone they know , or themselves, are stripped of property and face public shaming then they will be outraged. By then it will be too late.

        3. avatar mark s. says:

          Perfect question for the courts to throw these laws out . If you change your address to a state that does not have a red flag law , after your firearms have been SEIZED , can you petition the Red Flag state to have your possessions restored in a timely manner ( which should be what ? ) and if not , could you sue the Red Flag state for not doing so , because let’s just say up front , we know they will not or could not comply .
          This is coming down the FEDERAL pipeline soon boys and girls , even with Trump as president .
          We need a real constitutional advocate in the white house . Ted Cruz .

        4. avatar CZJay says:

          Not sure. They might flag you in the background check system because you are restricted from buying guns, having a permit to carry, touching a gun or having access to them. You are essentially treated as if you are a felon.

          Feels like Europe all over again. Makes you feel all warm inside, doesn’t it?

        5. avatar GS650G says:

          In our highly connected and automated world any contact with the police is forever retained. Even if it’s not a dis-qualifier today it could be tomorrow. They are never going to allow a red flag person to be considered safe again. Look for increased actions for second red flags. Searching for the guns allows them into your home where all kinds of things can be discovered too. The surprise factor means they do a no knock raid without a warrant based on probable cause, it’s based on heresy. This is an easy way to SWAT people you don’t like and laugh at their misfortune.

          Look for some enterprising person to set up a website showing red flaggers in your neighborhood who’ve been disarmed and should not be armed. Call this number if you see or hear about them having a firearm. The justification will stem from the need to protect the schools, for the children again.

          This is what lack of due process turns into. What’s next? If this is all a bit over reacting then convince me I’m wrong.

    2. avatar SurfGW says:

      California has a rule (or is it a law?) not to hold anything in a police storage over 1 year unless it is required by a judge or part of an ongoing case / trial. I suspect that the guns are destroyed the moment a judge extends the “temporary” to over a year or specifies over 1 year in the red flag order.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Well, maybe if you consider being loaded into the trunk of a LEO car being “destroyed”.

    3. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      In order for a red-flag law to work, an otherwise private citizen has to be defined as a danger to himself and/or others. As we’ve seen, once this happens the police see an “armed and dangerous” person and act accordingly. Once this happens the individual is forever stigmatized. The denial of freedom and liberty institutionalized by these laws is such that, once labeled, you’ll never be able to be “made whole” again. That elected officials, Democrat and Republican support such laws tells us just how close we are to living in a police state.

      1. avatar CZJay says:

        We already live in a state of “anarchy” where the government can do what they want and they rarely get in trouble. If you think you have human rights the police label you a crazy “sovereign citizen” or “constitutionalist.” The corporate media will label you a militia member or a nationalist, as if those are bad words.

      2. avatar CZJay says:

        Responded in less than 5 seconds, did not announce themselves, gave zero warnings to drop the gun, shot him in the back 3 times before the CCW carrier knew what hit him. It was considered justified by the AG (who hijacked the case from the mixed race DA) because he had his gun out, thus it won’t go to trial for the citizens to decide.

    4. avatar CZJay says:

      I think the minimum is 1 year, then the process restarts for another year if you can’t satisfy the judge. I read a story saying a man from California had his guns rights taken from him for 3 years. You can’t even touch a gun, if you do you go to jail.

      What a great country, totally land of the free.

  2. avatar barnbwt says:

    Florida police should be ashamed of themselves. Whether you are “one of the good ones” or the actual jack-booted thug kicking down doors of people to steal their property, you are complicit in this large scale violation of civil rights.

    1. avatar Donttreadonme says:


    2. avatar burley says:

      Agreed. I have friends who are cops and they just don’t seem to understand this. It’s greivous…

      1. avatar CZJay says:

        Do they own a pocket constitution? Maybe you need to buy them one.

    3. avatar CZJay says:

      I heard Broward county had the most gun confiscations since the law was passed. If that’s correct, looks like they got the power they wanted prior to the Parkland shooting they allowed to happen.

      I wonder what the NRA has to say about all the gun confiscations and the police whom enforce the government’s orders.

      I always hear from LEOs that they will never enforce unconstitutional “laws” on Americans. I haven’t heard any of them speak out, refuse or protest the confiscations and infringements of human/civil rights. It’s as if money is more important to them than America and its people. I would like to hear from a LEO who refused to follow the order given to him to violate due process, confiscate property and remove an American’s civilly protected human right. So far the silence is deafening.

  3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    They should have just thrown those 1700 people in jail and held them without bail until such a time as the government deemed them to not be a threat to themselves or others. How do they know they didn’t hide guns? How do they know they won’t be able to buy a gun on the black market? How do they know they won’t use other means to harm themselves or others? These people need to be thrown in jail without trial. It’s the only way to be sure.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      when the red flag law fails to work as intended, a black flag rule will be proposed that involves an extended stay courtesy of the governor.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Red Flag laws are working exactly as intended now, but that doesn’t mean that ‘Black Flag’ laws aren’t on the horizon as well.

        1. avatar Ragnar says:

          More like Black Bag laws.

    2. avatar Rick the Bear says:


    3. avatar CZJay says:

      Yeah! We need those Communist re-education camps. We got to teach these violent right wingers to stop using their assault weapons on innocent children. Anyone that owns a big black gun is a terrorist in the making, they are a danger to society. We have to teach them good Americans do not own assault weapons unless they work for the government. Don’t worry, we are teaching the children this in our elementary school.

      Just say no to guns, kids.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        On a less sarcastic note, virtually everyone in the country would be appalled at the government detaining American citizens without trial or due process, yet so many of us applaud the government taking property without trial or due process. Not just red flag laws, but civil asset forfeiture, and eminent domain abuse is rife yet the party that actually does lip service to the Bill of Rights largely cheers those on as well. They have no more right to steal our property than they do to steal our freedom.

        1. avatar barnbwt says:

          Well obviously our life, liberty, and property aren’t on equal tiers of importance /sarc

        2. avatar CZJay says:

          I don’t know about that anymore. Back in the Bush days most Americans were happy the U.S. tortured and imprisoned people without due process. They wanted to turn entire countries into “glass parking lots” using nukes. It became so disgusting they would waterboard people on TV to show how humane it was. Americans didn’t care much about the military doing exercises on American soil to practice raids or martial law in America — it’s just plain cool to see the dry runs in person.

        3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          CZ, not I said, ‘…the government detaining American CITIZENS without trial or due process…’

          Also, waterboarding may be harsh treatment but it isn’t torture. We do it to our own soldiers in training. By elevating it to torture you minimize actual torture.

    4. avatar Anymouse says:

      Jail is too wishy-washy. There’s the possibility of escape or communicating with an outside accomplice. Summary execution is the only way to be sure. It’s for the children, after all.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        If it saves just one child (after the 4th trimester)…

  4. avatar Shire-man says:

    Do they count the guy whose bitch sister sent the death squad after over some petty domestic squabble?
    How about the guy in VT who had his taken because somebody related to him who didn’t even live near him made vague and generic statements construed as hostile?

    1. avatar Broke_It says:

      I’m totally that guy. Since my state wholeheartedly embraced such foolishness being related to my cunt of a sister and fucked up brother has become a huge liability. Can’t help but feel it’s only a matter of time. Especially since we don’t talk so who knows what kind of bender my bro has been on lately or what craziness my sister is brewing up at any given time.

  5. avatar GS650G says:

    If these people needed to be disarmed why were they allowed to walk among us where they could rent a truck from Home Depot and drive it on a NYC bike path. I guess that can”t happen
    Due process takes a while, I get that, but without it you end up with people being accosted by the authorities who don’t get it right from time to time.
    And then we have politicians using the authorities for their own ends. Of course that never happens either.
    if and when this goes national the feds will get involved and then it’s going to become just something else we put up with without complaining because it’s so common. Boil the frog.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      You un-American filth! How dare you talk bad about our men and women in uniform! You anarchists disgust me with your anti American propaganda. You probably hate the NRA too. You commie traitor. I haven’t seen a bigger libtard since Alexandria “frontal” Cortex.

      1. avatar Marcia Mason says:

        CZJay. You’re weird. And that’s Alexa Occasional Cortex. Rarely Occasional, actually. Maybe never Cortex.

        1. avatar CZJay says:

          I was channeling the neo con spirits.

  6. avatar possum with an attitude says:

    Red flag laws are one of the reasons I sold the gunns I had. Now instead of target shooting, I smoke Meth, shoot dope , get drunk and jack to porn. Because that’s socially acceptable.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      And legally required in some liberal areas

    2. avatar Shire-man says:

      Only multi-ethnic trap porn though, right? Don’t wanna be a bigot.

      1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

        Multi-species porn..cause he’s a possum and all.

    3. avatar CZJay says:

      You forgot to go to strip clubs where a 11 year old transgender dances for you while you throw money at them. You also forgot to parade around naked and/or carry sex toys for all the children to see. You have to twerk that booty for the kids to see, honey.

  7. avatar Jedi Wombat says:

    Honest question, I’m completely ignorant here, do police swear to uphold the Constitution, or to enforce the laws of the community they are in or both? If they only swear to uphold the law, then when one of these ERPO things comes up they have a choice to make. If they swear to uphold the Constitution, then there is no choice, you go home sick or whatever. You can’t roll on one of these and stay true to your oath.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      The police are ultimately dogs who obey their masters; been that way all across the world for all of human history. The various secret police jerks in tyrannical regimes weren’t grown in tanks somewhere, they were pulled from the ranks of existing law enforcement. (No officers, I’m not ‘denigrating’ you; the rest of us wage-slaves also do what our bosses tell us to for the most part, so you self-righteous lot are simply no worse and no better than anyone else.)

      1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

        Remember during the Nuremburg trials when the Nazi leaders were being tried, their excuse was ” It’s not my fault, I was just obeying someone elses orders “.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Also remember the argument was rejected and the defendants hung.

    2. avatar CZJay says:

      They take two oaths: one for the U.S. constitution, the second for their state’s constitution and laws. Yes, their state laws conflict with the U.S. constitution yet they promise to enforce all the laws and ordinances.

      99% of LEOs will enforce the state laws over the U.S. constitution. Most of them don’t even remember their class on the U.S. constitution nor care to. It’s a lot more fun to be an enforcer than to sit around waiting for crimes where there is a victim. The U.S. constitution gets in the way of all the fun.

      So, yeah, LEOs have a choice to make every day they put on the uniform. If you ever get violated by law enforcement, that was their personal choice.

  8. avatar john says:

    High risk to left equals anyone that owns a gun.
    In the Red Flag bills that I have read after they have taken your guns, without due process, you will have to go to court to get your guns back. This would require a lawyer, probably some sort of psych evaluation and some proof that you did not threaten your life or somebody else’s. All at your expense, since you have not been charged with a crime you can not get a public defender. This puts a undo strain on lower-income individuals and would most likely result in them needing to an entire year to have firearms returned. This is the maximum time the order can be in effect unless it is renewed.
    No proof of threat needs to be shown to get the order just someone to state that there was a threat. There is no punishment for making false statements in the “Red Flag” laws. This would put it on you, as the gun owner, to pursue legal action against individual making false statements.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Are you advised who initiated the action? Might be a time to consider proving them right!

      1. avatar CZJay says:

        In most cases it’s the police that do the accusing.

        I have said since the beginning of this red flag wave (not ironic they call it that considering Communist flags are red) that giving government enforcers the power to get permission from other government workers to violate your rights is going to go somewhere America should never go. The power is so broad and open to intentional abuse that it will be used in that manner.

        I can gather your posts on the internet that appear threatening to the government, I create a story about how you are a danger to law enforcement or politicians, I hand over the evidence to law enforcement and tell them how I believe you are a danger to them, they read your posts and verify that it appears you might be dangerous to them if you actually were to live by your words, the LEOs go to a judge to ask for permission to raid your house within 24 hours to take away all the guns that you posted on the internet for their safety and the safety of others.

        I could easily go around creating dossiers on right wing people and crafting the necessary narrative that will allow LEOs to request an order of confiscation for their safety. All those anti big government posts, the emotional rhetoric complaining about police behavior, the talk of revolution or 1776, the images people post of their gun collection or ammo stock, etc. Heck, I could even make you look like a racist who wants to make America white again… It’s not like I need to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s for the children after all. Better safe than sorry.

    2. avatar MyName says:

      “High risk to left equals anyone that owns a gun.”

      I think this really sums up where they are going with this. This coupled with “safe-storage” type laws indicate that what the antis would really like to do is insure that anyone who has a gun available to them is under the direct control of some apparatus of the state. I think this is why they want registration, UBC, red-flag, safe-storage, the lot. They have a problem with anyone who is not under control.

      1. avatar CZJay says:

        Everyone is under control when they are unwilling to use their weapons. As long as they retain ownership of those guns they can always change their minds. We cannot allow them such power, we must strip it from them before they realize they are slaves and “their” government is tyrannical.

    3. avatar Rocketman says:

      What bothers me is if the Democrat Party takes full control sometime in the future, as in the presidency, house and senate. Then they can implement “red flag” laws anywhere and to whom ever they want. Ever criticize a socialist politician or a gay person?
      One call from some hapless democrat toad that has never met you to the police and ‘poof’ your guns disappear into a smelter and your branded with the scarlet “G” for gunowner.

  9. avatar john says:

    Since no evidence needs to be shown at a red flag hearing and there is no penalty for falsely starting the process, these laws will go far beyond affecting gun owners. Scenario 1: Someone gets angry at you, they decide to start the red flag proceedings. You do not own a gun but they tell a judge you are dangerous and own a gun. LEO’s come to your house, tear apart your home from top to bottom looking for what does not exist. Since they came with a warrant any damage that is done will most likely fall on you to make right. You probably will end up arrested because no gun was found. Since you are not allowed to face your accuser and most likely will never know who it was. Scenario 2: For some reason, the police want access to your property but do not have probable cause for a search warrant. With the right judge, they can make up the whole red flag issue, get a warrant and search everywhere you could hide a gun.

  10. avatar john says:


  11. avatar Anonymous says:

    They must have a little room in the back with Abatha and the twins in the tank visioning out all the precrime so they can shoot down on ropes and kick in a door and take someone’s guns.

  12. avatar Rick the Bear says:

    Aaaaand, that proves approximately nothing (plus or minus 3%).

    Mikey and Co are so determined to get the answer they want, they couldn’t see conflicting evidence if it bit them on the…

  13. avatar Janie Prather says:


  14. avatar Bierce Ambrose says:

    Wow. It’s almost like this was all about the seizures; safety just a fig leaf.

    1. avatar James T Matters says:

      And that data does not even include CALIFORNIA siezures!

  15. avatar ark says:

    1,700 mass shootings or murdered avoided? Bull fucking shit.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      It would be nice to see someone at least *attempt* to illustrate how many lives have been saved by these 1700 unconstitutional seizures. I suspect if there were a way to discover the absolute truth, that number would be zero. But someone made a case that a good result would definitely happen, shouldn’t they at least be required to report the supposed results?

  16. avatar James T Matters says:

    We can save thousands every year by taking cars away from lousy drivers too.
    But liberals like to drive cars so that’s out.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      Actually leftists want to ban personal cars. They use Uber and public transport. They dislike driving, they rather sit in the vehicle on their phone while someone else drives. Plus, Mustangs are a danger to the public.

  17. avatar m. says:

    define “high-risk” you fkng a**holes

  18. avatar m. says:

    this s**t started with unconstitutional civil asset forfeiture & seizure

  19. avatar mark s. says:

    We all better start right now declaring our outrage at these laws and hammer it home to Trump now before the weasels get to deep in his ears and head or we will be seeing this as National Federal Law soon .

  20. avatar NORDNEG says:

    With the 1st & 2nd Amendment going away, the country of America will fall next because of radical minority’s & anti gun politicians , mostly put in office by liberals.

    1. avatar Rocketman says:

      That’s one of the major reasons that I’m leaving soon and moving to Paraguay. It’s not a paradise, but none of that s*** is going on there.

      1. avatar Erotic Vulture says:

        Why Paraguay? I’m not being sarcastic. I assume you’ve done some research. Asking for a friend.

  21. avatar John in Ohio says:

    “Take the guns first. Go through due process second.”

  22. avatar Burner says:

    These are East German style gun confiscation laws nothing more, Sic Semper Tyrannis

  23. avatar Joe says:

    Hmm, so if someone pisses me off, I can “Red Flag” them, have their Second Amendment rights taken away, be anonymous at the same time, while come across as being a “concerned and caring citizen” all at the same time? Only a gun-hating, Commie loving politician would love laws like these. No need to get rid of the Second Amendment via a Constitutional Amendment-they have found they can get rid of our guns like this. No reassurances on whether the one getting “Red Flagged” will ever get his or her seized weapons back. Or whether he or she can sue the hell out of the person who “turned them in”. After all, it was for their saaaaaaftety. “Divide-and Conquer”: It is the oldest strategy in the book, and still works well, sad to say.

  24. avatar strych9 says:

    I guess this raises a 4A question in my mind aside from the obvious.

    If cops secure an ERPO, what does that let them do? Can they search a house top to bottom to make sure they got all the guns? What if they find something else that’s not in plain site it which might be illegal? Would it matter at that point if the owner knew the item was illegal or even there?

    Does this function like a probable cause search where they smell pot, search a car and find something else? Or is it different because it’s not a probable cause/warrant situation?

  25. Is TTAG going to do a follow up about any effective constitutional recourse against “so called Red Flag Laws?!” How many US citizens took legal action against forces engaged in such a practice. How many people sued ?! What kind of legal defense funds by Pro2a groups are available to defend US citizens from this kind of ” arbitrary and capricious” actions…This NEEDS a positive follow up!

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