Bites Media

2020 Presidential Election

2020 Gun Reform: Red Flag Laws


  • Extreme risk protection orders are also known as "red flag laws" or "gun violence restraining orders." [Associated Press]

  • These policies allow family members and law enforcement to file for lawful order to remove firearms from the possession of “dangerous people.” [TIME

  • At least 17 states, plus D.C., have enacted some form of a red flag law. [NPR]

  • Sep. 2019: At least 86% of Americans support red flag legislation. [The Washington Post]

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President Trump is unclear on red flag legislation.


Why unclear

President Trump verbally supported a federal “red-flag” law following 2019 mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, but has since abandoned it. [The Washington Post]


President Trump's actions appear to oppose red flag legislation. 



What he's said

2019: "We don't want people who are mentally ill, people who are sick - we don't want them having guns." [BBC]


What he's done

  • Feb. 2017: The Trump administration reversed the Obama-Biden SSA rule, making it easier for mentally ill individuals to purchase a firearm. [USA Today]
  • Nov. 2017: The Trump administration purged all records of "fugitives from justice" from the national background check system. This grants around 500,000 fugitives the ability to purchase a firearm. [The Washington Post]

Former Vice President Biden supports red flag legislation. 


Biden supports a state-by-state approach.


What he's said

  • Biden promises federal funds to states that adopt red flag laws. [Joe Biden Campaign]
  • Biden promises federal support from the Department of Justice in implementing new or existing law(s).  [Joe Biden Campaign]
  • Biden promises to provide additional federal funding and state support for strengthening the background check system. [Joe Biden Campaign]

What he's done:

  • 2016: The Obama-Biden administration finalized a rule to ensure the Social Security Administration (SSA) sends to the background check system records of mentally ill individuals who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. The rule was reversed by the Trump administration. [USA Today]
  • 2013: The Obama-Biden administration increased federal funding and reduced barriers for states to submit records to the background check system. [White House Archives]
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