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The Editors

Red-Flag Laws Can Make a Difference

If well designed and competently administered, extreme-risk protection orders save lives.



Photographer: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The slaughter at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, has stunned a country tragically accustomed to mass shootings. Coming just days after the atrocity at Buffalo, New York, this latest outrage has strengthened calls for tighter gun laws. This time, perhaps, something might actually be done.

One approach looks especially promising. So-called red-flag laws — measures that allow police or family members to ask a court to intervene when someone poses a threat to himself or others — are commanding renewed bipartisan support. They aren’t infallible: Nothing could be in a country awash with guns. But more than half of mass shooters exhibited clear warning signs before committing their crimes, which makes such laws worthwhile. When it comes to gun control, the combination of efficacy and feasibility is rare. Policy makers should seize the moment.