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H.R.5717 - Jake Laird Act of 2018

To authorize the Attorney General to make grants to States that have in place laws that authorize the seizure of firearms from dangerous individuals, and for other purposes.

You might favor this bill if:
►  You believe states should be incentivized via federal grants to enact so called “red-flag” laws, which would enable law enforcement, under probable cause, to seize firearms from individuals who are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

You might oppose this bill if:
►  You believe the bill’s ambiguous language can be left for improper interpretation or abuse. For instance, an officer in “exigent circumstances” should not have the ability to seize an individual’s weapon without a proper warrant, that could potentially be an infringement on 2nd amendment rights.

The Jake Laird Act of 2018 would provide grants to states encouraging them to adopt laws, similar to Indiana’s 2005 Jake Laird Law, that enable local law enforcement, with probable cause, to seize and retain firearms from individuals who are determined to be an imminent danger to themselves or others.

Jake Laird was an Indiana police officer who was shot and killed in 2004 in the line of duty by a man who struggled with mental illness.

The legislation labels a “dangerous” individual as someone who:
- “has a mental illness that may be controlled by medication, but has demonstrated a pattern of not voluntarily and consistently taking such medication, except under supervision”;
- “is the subject of documented evidence that would give rise to a reasonable belief that the individual has a propensity for violent or emotionally unstable conduct”; or
- poses a significant danger of personal injury to himself or herself, or another individual, by possessing a firearm.

In order for states to receive grants, their laws have to be modeled to the guidelines of the legislation or follow a process that is substantially similar to what the bill suggest. These suggestions entail the following:
- A court must issue a warrant authorizing a law enforcement officer to seize the firearm from a person, should the court determine that there is probable cause to believe the individual is dangerous and in possession of a firearm;
- The law enforcement officer seeking a warrant must submit to the court an affidavit, which must contain supporting facts to the officer’s probable cause, including all interactions between the officer and that individual whose warrant is sought; and
- An officer, in “exigent circumstances”, has the ability to seize the weapon without a warrant, as long as within 48 hours he files a return with the court accounting the event in detail.

Within 21 days after the seizure of such firearm, a court hearing will be made ruling whether or not the individual is considered dangerous. If the weapon or firearm is confiscated, the individual has the right to petition for the weapon to be returned or to be sold and hae those funds be returned to the individual.

The legislation would approve a budget of $50 million to carry out the act between 2019 and 2021.

“The Jake Laird Law has been used successfully more than 600 times in Indianapolis since 2005 and should be used as a model for states nationwide,” said sponsor of the bill Rep. Brooks. “As our country continues to grapple with how to keep our communities safe, the Jake Laird Act will provide our local law enforcement officers the tools and training necessary to prevent senseless acts of violence from claiming more innocent lives. After many meetings with students, teachers, school administrators, law enforcement departments and fellow members of Congress, I am proud to introduce this bipartisan gun violence reduction tool that will help us better avoid situations that could jeopardize countless lives while also protecting individual constitutional rights.”

The families of the victims killed in the tragedy in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, wrote a letter to show their support for the Jake Laird Act.

“Frankly, we know much more needs to be done to prevent mass murder from ever again occurring in our schools. The safety of students, teachers and staff in our schools cannot wait. The moment to consider legislation like the Jake Laird Act is right now. We must continue to work together to keep firearms away from those that are an immediate risk to themselves or to others. These laws are working in Florida and in many other states, therefore, we support the objective of this act, which is to encourage all states to adopt “red flag” legislation. We must be the last families to suffer the loss of a loved one due to a mass shooting at a school. We demand more action to keep our schools safe, and legislation like the Jake Laird Act is a critical piece of the puzzle,” the families wrote on the letter.


Sponsored by: Rep. Brooks, Susan W. [R-IN-5].

Cosponsored by: 8 Rep / 5 Dem.

See list of cosponsors.

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