Deschutes County is the most active in the state in enforcing Oregon’s “red flag” gun laws, which make it illegal to carry a firearm in certain situations.
If a judge determines that a person poses a danger to themselves or others, they might have their firearms temporarily taken away from them. The system is designed so that people can challenge removal, and orders automatically expire after a year if they aren’t renewed with new evidence.
According to experts, the regulations provide for action before a person’s behavior becomes dangerous. Analysis of data from Oregon’s judicial department shows that since 2018, when the state’s Extreme Risk Protection Order law went into effect, Deschutes County has issued more of these orders than any other county in the state.
Former Bend police officer and current Deschutes County DA’s office investigator Jake Chandler says the statute went into force as he and his department’s Community Response Team dealt with two deadly shootings.
“(We looked) at those saying hey, what can we do on our team, on the mental health team, to make sure that doesn’t happen again or do everything in our power to try to stop that from happening?” Chandler said. “So once we found the ERPOs available, our team started pushing that.”
Here is a tweet about the red flag of Deschutes county
There has been minimal governmental support for public education about the protection orders and their usage. Thus, even after several years, they are sometimes a little-known instrument for averting deaths and injuries from weapons.
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Investigators have found warning signals left by mass shooters, but “red flag” laws have attracted national attention because of this.
Weaver points out that even with an injunction, a dangerous person might find a way to get their hands on a handgun, so these measures are not foolproof. Nonetheless, temporarily restricting access to firearms is an improvement.