“Red Flag” Gun Laws

Photo: Aaron Kivisto

A new study by Aaron Kivisto, assistant professor of clinical psychology, provides evidence that risk-based gun seizure laws are saving lives. The study, “Effects of Risk-Based Firearm Seizure Laws in Connecticut and Indiana on Suicide Rates, 1981-2015,” appears in the June 2018 issue of Psychiatric Services. Peter Phalen ’18 (Psy.D. in clinical psychology) was co-author.

Risk-based firearm seizure laws–also known as “red flag” laws–provide ways for law enforcement to seize guns from individuals considered to pose an imminent risk of serious harm to themselves or others. The study, which utilizes CDC data for the 50 states, covers a 34-year period and focuses on Connecticut and Indiana, respectively the first two states to enact risk-based gun seizure laws.

With more than 20 “red flag” gun bills pending in state legislatures across the country, Kivisto said risk-based gun seizure laws have emerged as a prominent policy option for reducing gun violence.

“Policy makers working to reduce gun violence benefit from data in helping them weigh the balance between individual risks and rights,” Kivisto said.

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