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'Red Flag' Laws: San Diego's program serves as a model for California

In California, a judge can decide to issue a 12-month restraining order which can be renewed – taking away a person’s access to firearms.

SAN DIEGO — Days after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the conversation from our nation's leaders is about solutions. 

"We must seek real, bipartisan solutions," said President Donald Trump during a news conference Monday. "We have to do that in a bipartisan manner."

President Trump went on to list what he believes the country must do, including: 

  • dentifying and acting on early warning signs
  • Cultural change to stop "violence in our society"
  • Mental health reform
  • Pass "red flag" laws

"We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process," President Trump said. "That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders."

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) are working on a bill to provide federal grants for states to implement red flag laws, according to a statement from Sen. Graham

According to the Giffords Law Center, 17 states and the District of Columbia already have extreme risk protection orders. Four other states are considering them – but Texas isn't one of them. 

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliot said it is a successful tool in preventing gun violence. The city’s program has served as a model throughout California, which enacted its own version of the red flag law in 2016.

Through this law, anyone from a neighbor, friend, family member or co-worker can report concerns to law enforcement.

“Law enforcement does an investigation and if they feel they have a case, we will bring it to court,” said Elliot.

The judge can then decide to issue a 12-month restraining order which can be renewed – taking away that person’s access to firearms. The subject of the investigation does have the chance to explain their side.

“It is respectful of everybody’s rights in the process,” said Elliot.

Elliot said that in the past year and a half, more than 300 restraining orders have been granted under the Red Flag Law in the City of San Diego, alone.

“That is an indicator to me that we have saved lives,” she said.

Several of the Democrats running for president also support red flag laws. You can read the policy ideas from the candidates with plans who have qualified for the third Democratic debate here:  

RELATED: San Diego House Democrats among those calling on Senate to pass gun control bills

Reps. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, Mike Levin, D-Oceanside, Scott Peters, D-San Diego, and Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, and 210 other House Democrats sent a letter to Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, calling on him to bring the chamber back into session to vote on two House bills that would enhance background checks for gun purchases. 

Meanwhile, President Trump is also calling for mass shooters and those who commit hate crimes to face the death penalty. That's already the case for the El Paso shooter.