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EDITORIAL: Indiana leads fight against gun violence with 'Red Flag' law
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EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL: Indiana leads fight against gun violence with 'Red Flag' law

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The Hoosier state is leading in the attempt to prevent, rather than just react to, gun violence, and other states should be taking note.

It's also key that police departments and courts within our state make full use, when warranted, of a law that has been on the books since 2005 but hasn't been heralded nearly enough.

On Wednesday's front page, Times reporters Dan Carden and Lauren Cross detail the existence and use of the "Red Flag" law, both statewide and locally, since its creation.

Under the Red Flag law, police officers who believe dangerous individuals no longer should possess firearms can present sworn statements to judges detailing those concerns.

The law also gives police authority to take firearms — without a warrant — from anyone suspected of being dangerous if the officers obtain judicial consent at a later date.

Indiana is one of only five states to enact a Red Flag law, and we hope the practice spreads like wildfire throughout the country.

Court records show the law was used 46 times last year statewide, though an exact number is unknown because not all Indiana counties are online with the state's court-case management system.

Locally, the Lake County Sheriff's Department cited a case in which the law was used to take guns away from a Region man suffering a mental illness who wasn't taking his medications.

The Griffith and Hammond police departments also have noted using the law to keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands and have heralded its importance.

Throughout our country, we're feeling the deep effects of mass shooting deaths, often at the hands of mentally ill parties who had no business owning or possessing guns.

Indiana's Red Flag law holds much promise as a model for curtailing tragedies like last month’s Parkland, Florida, high school shooting that killed 17 people.

It's encouraging to note President Donald Trump is considering a plan to offer federal grants or other incentives to encourage states to adopt measures similar to Indiana's Red Flag law.

The law remains an important tool that seeks balance between public safety and the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Regional News Editor Sharon Ross, Assistant Deputy Editor Andrew Steele.

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