© 2023 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Why didn't red flag laws prevent the Colorado Club Q shooting?

Photos of the shooting victims are displayed at a makeshift memorial outside of Club Q on Nov. 22, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A gunman opened fire inside the LGBTQ+ club on Nov. 19, killing 5 and injuring 25 others before being tackled and disarmed by a club patron. (Chet Strange/Getty Images)
Photos of the shooting victims are displayed at a makeshift memorial outside of Club Q on Nov. 22, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A gunman opened fire inside the LGBTQ+ club on Nov. 19, killing 5 and injuring 25 others before being tackled and disarmed by a club patron. (Chet Strange/Getty Images)

In certain states, there are laws in place that allow police or family to petition a court to take away weapons from individuals who threaten harm to themselves or others. Colorado is one of the 19 states with this red flag law in place. So why wasn’t it used to potentially prevent the Colorado club shooting that left five people dead?

Host Robin Young speaks to KUNC reporter Leigh Paterson for a look at how Colorado enforces this law.

Despite being in place in 19 states, red flag laws are barely used to remove weapons from individuals that have the potential to harm themselves or others. Social epidemiologist Veronica Pear, who researches police attitudes toward red flag laws, gives a broader look at how these laws work and why police decide to use — or not use — them.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.