I am writing in support of LD 1312, the “red flag” bill, or extreme risk protection order bill, introduced by Sen. Rebecca Millett. This bill will be discussed at a Judiciary Committee hearing on April 22. I have asked my state senator, Lisa Keim, to support the legislation.

LD 1312 would empower law enforcement and family members to obtain a court order to temporarily confiscate a person’s firearms if he or she is found to be a threat to themselves or others.

In a study of mass shootings from 2009 to 2017 there was a “red flag” or warning sign in nearly half the shootings before they occurred. Nationwide, two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides; in Maine, suicides make up 88 percent of all firearm deaths. Maine has the chance to join 15 states with red flag laws, including Connecticut, where the laws have helped stop at least 72 would-be suicides.

The red flag bill — which has the support of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association — is robust with due process protections. A temporary order can only be placed if there is clear evidence that the removal of firearms is necessary to prevent imminent danger. Filing a false petition or using the law to harass another person would be made illegal.

This gives LD 1312 the right balance to help prevent gun violence while respecting the Second Amendment and due process. I call on Sen. Keim and our Legislature to support this bill.

Barbara Arsenault, Rumford

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