ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The long-debated Red Flag Law is now in effect in Minnesota. The legislation, which was passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature last year, took effect on Jan. 1. On Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz discussed the new law and what it means for Minnesotans.
While new gun laws invariably stir debate, Minnesota leaders and legislators argued that this law should not spark controversy.
"None of these things infringe upon your constitutional right to safe usage of firearms... what they do is save lives and make our homes and cities a little bit safer," said Walz.
The Extreme Risk Protection Order Law, commonly referred to as the Red Flag Law, necessitates a request from law enforcement, a prosecutor, or a family member to initiate action. There are two types of orders under this law:
- Emergency orders, issued immediately by a judge, and last fourteen days.
- Long-term orders, which span six months to a year, require a court hearing involving the gun owner.
Following an order, gun surrender is mandated within 24 hours.
"Obviously, people can voluntarily turn them in, and that’s what we would prefer... but if we have to execute search warrants, that’s something that we’ll have to do," explained Richfield Police Chief Jay Henthorne, who is also a vice president of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.
Most data from states with similar laws focuses on suicide prevention, with studies showing a significant reduction in suicide rates linked to these laws. The impact on mass shooting prevention and other forms of gun violence is less conclusive, though advocates are optimistic about the law's potential to save lives.
"Like the vast majority of gun owners, I know that we can protect the 2nd Amendment, and we can take common-sense measures to protect our loved ones," added Pastor Rolf Olson, who lost his daughter to gun violence.