The debate over red flag laws: OK lawmakers expected to take up legislation

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OKLAHOMA CITY - As Congress reconvenes after the summer recess, what to do about gun violence will be a heated debate.

Meanwhile, there’s a push for gun reform on the state level in Oklahoma. However, lawmakers are divided.

One state senator wants to ban any future federal red flag law being enforced in Oklahoma. But other lawmakers are calling for “common sense gun reform.”

A handful of gun reform measures are expected to be considered this spring.

Red flag laws are extreme risk protection orders.

“If someone is showing signs of mental health issues, a family member, a loved one, someone from the community can reach out, and local law enforcement can petition a judge to remove weapons from that person's possession for a period of 7 days​,” Rep. Jason Dunnington said about his bill.

​Under his bill, a judge could extend that period if there’s a continued danger.

“The public is angry right now, and they want elected officials to listen on this particular issue. and listening doesn't mean taking away 2nd Amendment rights. Listening means passing common sense gun reform​,” Rep. Dunnington said.

Senator Nathan Dahm doesn’t want any new gun restrictions for anyone.

His bill is aimed at preventing any federal red flag law from being enforced in Oklahoma.

​“The bill also has a felony provision for any law enforcement officer that were to try to implement a federal red flag law here in the state of Oklahoma,” Sen. Dahm said.

Sen. Dahm claims red flag laws would not have prevented recent mass shootings like the one just a week ago in Odessa, Texas.

“Yes, when a tragedy happens there are steps that can be taken, but further restrictions on law-abiding citizens is not the answer,” Sen. Dahm said.

“I think what the public is saying - having a shotgun, having a rifle, having a handgun is one thing. But carrying around a weapon of war, an AR-15 with magazines that carry up to 100 bullets - there’s no necessary need for that in our society whatsoever,” Rep. Dunnington said.

​If a red flag bill passes this next legislative session, Oklahoma will join 17 other states and Washington, D.C. with red flag laws.

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