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How Many States Have Red Flag Laws? And How Do They Work?


Since lawmakers can never agree on what triggers gun violence and how to tackle it, some call for red flag laws. 

However, not all places in America agree with this idea. So how many states have red flag laws? For a detailed answer, let’s follow our guide with Flagwix

Red Flag Laws
19 states in America apply the laws

Before the Parkland shooting happened in 2018, only five states used the red flag law. Since then, 14 other states and the District of Columbia have enacted the laws. So, 19 states and D.C. have the laws as of 2022.

The red flag law, a gun control legislation in the United States, allows police to ask a state court to compel the temporary seizure of guns from someone they suspect may be dangerous.

The judge makes the decision based on the gun owner in question’s actions and words. Refusal to follow the instruction is a crime that receives a punishment.

The judge will return the firearms to the owner after a predetermined period unless another court proceeding expands the confiscation period.

You can learn more about the red flag laws from this video

Here is a complete list of states that now have red flag laws:

  • California
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Florida
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C

In 1999, Connecticut became the first state to implement a red flag law after an accountant at the state lottery’s administrative offices fatally stabbed and murdered four of his colleagues before pulling the trigger on himself.

Prior to the shooting, Matthew Beck, the shooter, had some signs of emotional instability and was undergoing medical treatment for problems caused by stress.

The legislation of California is one of the most complicated. It was the first to allow families to immediately seek courts for orders to take away their relatives’ firearms.

One of the most current to be implemented is in New York. It enables teachers to ask the court for orders. This idea is the same for family members and other parties.

Usage And Effects Of Red Flag Laws

How do the red flag laws improve these harsh situations? What do the states do with the laws? Some information about their usage and effects will make things clear. 


red flag laws - Effect of them?
The laws have reduced firearm-related deaths

A study in 2016 analyzed the statistics from the 762 firearm confiscations made under Connecticut’s law between October 1999 and June 2013. According to the study, for every 10 to 11 cases of gun seizures, the laws could prevent one suicide attempt. 

The researchers concluded that other states might significantly reduce the threat posed by that tiny proportion of authorized firearm owners by establishing regulations similar to Connecticut’s law. 

Another study in 2018 looked into the effect of Connecticut and Indiana’s risk-based weapon seizure laws on firearm suicide rates in 50 states from 1981 to 2015. The researchers concluded that the gun seizure laws could reduce 7.5% of gun suicides in 10 years after the law’s enactment.


The rate at which red-flag rules go into practice varied significantly between states. But in general, red flag laws worked to seize firearms roughly 5,000 times nationally in 2020.

2020 saw Florida, California, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York regularly employ red flags.

According to 2020 research, Florida and Maryland used their red-flag laws the most frequently when adjusted for their population size and the number of days they were in effect.

Whether a government has courts that let petitioners request an order after office hours and on weekends is one determinant in different usage rates.

Even when the evidence may support the granting of the order, requests for the removal of firearms are not acceptable in some states.

Who Is Against Red Flag Laws?

how many states have red flag laws - Who Is Against Red Flag Laws
National Rifle Association does not approve the laws

Many conservatives disagree with any gun restrictions, claiming that doing so undermines the Second Amendment. 

The National Rifle Association has supported the idea of preventing dangerous individuals from owning guns.

Unfortunately, it has steadfastly rejected state red flag legislation, claiming that they go way too far by permitting courts to seize firearms from persons who have not violated the laws.

The group has also raised questions about red flag laws, which permit protective orders to be imposed without the subject having an opportunity to be heard. 

According to the organization, the rights of targets of the protective orders in places like Oregon are hard to maintain. Hence, the N.R.A. does not currently approve any red flag legislation. 

Do Red Flag Laws Work?

red flag laws and how they work
The effectiveness of the laws depends on how people use them

Yes. Red flag laws can reduce all forms of gun violence, and mass shootings result in a small percentage of gun fatalities yearly.

In 2020, more than 45,000 people died from bullet wounds. This figure does not include cases in which a gunshot was the second cause of death.

Of 45,000 deaths, more than half were suicides, and 43% were murders. 3% of the deaths were accidental. 

Red flag laws are effective for tragic cases. However, their effectiveness depends on how the states apply them and how many people use them. 

For example, the number of emergency orders issued by New York State annually—500—is relatively low compared to the government’s entire population.

According to researchers, extreme risk laws have some merit in avoiding suicides and other gun-related deaths. For instance, if there are 10 to 20 orders for red flags, the number of suicides will decrease by one.

Finally, take your time to see other Flagwix Politics Decorative Flags.


Now, 19 states of America use the red flag laws. They work effectively to reduce the rate of gun-related murders and suicides. 

Hopefully, we have answered your questions about how many states have red flag laws. If you have any more, please feel free to ask. Thank you for joining Flagwix

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