Federal red flag gun bill could gain bipartisan support after Texas mass shooting

Bipartisan discussions regarding a red flag gun bill are underway in the U.S. Senate.

Updated: May 25, 2022 - 11:24pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Discussions about a potential bipartisan agreement on a red flag gun bill are currently underway in the Senate following the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.

The state of Florida passed a red flag bill after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. The law has reportedly been employed 6,000 times, according to a local media report.

A similar bill is currently being considered after the shooting that claimed the lives of at least 19 children Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. 

In total, 19 states have red flag laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of violent or mentally ill individuals. 

"We talked about the red flag," said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). "It's worked. It's worked in states such as Florida. It's been very effective."

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said he would consider voting for red flag legislation.

"I'm going to look at anything that has practical application and the ability to pass that's going to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill," he said. 

Outgoing Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) also said he could get behind a federal red flag bill.

"We know that we can show we can be united to protect our children," he said. "That's the thing in a nutshell."

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) signaled that he's open to a federal red flag bill.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said red flag laws are a good idea but should be left up to each state.

As The Hill noted, Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Angus King (I-Maine) introduced red flag legislation last year that did not pass the Senate. This legislation, the Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act, could serve as a basis for a potential agreement after the Texas shooting.

The Rubio and Scott bill would allow the Department of Justice to use federal funds to incentivize states to adopt red flag laws like Florida's from 2018.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday poured cold water on the prospect that a major gun control bill would be brought to a vote before the midterm elections in November.