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House Passes Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act

The U.S. House today passed the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act. This gun violence prevention legislation that would create a federal “red flag” law, empowering family members and law enforcement to restrict access to guns, after due process, for those who pose a danger to themselves or others. It would also give states guidance and grants to set up and implement extreme risk protection order laws at the state and local level.

Rep. Don Beyer is a lead cosponsor of the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, sponsored by Rep. Carbajal (D-CA), which was included in the legislation. Beyer has been a strong and vocal supporter of the legislation, which was introduced in the wake of the Isla Vista shooting, since he took office in 2015. He voted for the bill, which passed with bipartisan support.

Beyer spoke during the House Floor debate on the bill, his remarks as delivered follow (video here):

“Madame Speaker, I rise today to express my strong support for H.R. 2377, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act.

Included in this legislation is the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, which I have been proud to co-lead for many years with my friend and colleague Congressman Carbajal.

Madame Speaker, on April 16, 2007, 15 years ago, 32 Virginia Tech students in my home commonwealth were killed by a young man who was well known to the community to have paranoid schizophrenia, he had been hospitalized, he had been picked up by [authorities], he had been banned from classes. There was every reason in the world for him to be on the background check list, yet he was able to buy the weapons legally that killed those 32 kids.

In 2014. I had a long conversation with a friend who was deeply depressed. He was having trouble getting out of bed, trouble finding a psychiatrist who would treat him. I made some calls to try to find somebody, and then didn't do anything but worry – and was stunned when he got out of bed to go buy a gun and [died by suicide]. To this day, I so regret that I did not call his wife and [go] together to the court to get him on the background check list.

We've all lost too many friends, and we all are grief-struck by the massacre of children. Red flags may not protect everyone, but it will save many lives, and it's a start.”