Minnesota’s New ‘Red Flag’ Law Sparks Controversy and Questions

Minneapolis — Minnesota implemented a new “red flag” law on January 1, causing confusion and uncertainty among those seeking to utilize the law to protect themselves and their communities. The law, officially referred to as the Extreme Risk Protection Order law, was passed by the 2023 Minnesota Legislature and is aimed at addressing concerns about individuals who may possess firearms and pose a threat to themselves or others.

Similar laws have been enacted in at least 21 other states and the District of Columbia. In Minnesota, individuals can file a petition for a temporary or permanent order under the law. The required forms are currently available on the Minnesota Judicial Branch website.

To obtain an order, petitioners must provide “clear and convincing evidence” of the need for the order, which is a lower standard than the criminal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Eligible individuals who can file a petition include spouses, domestic partners, roommates, children, parents, and individuals involved in significant romantic or sexual relationships with the subject.

Gun rights groups have expressed concerns about the potential for individuals to have their firearms confiscated without sufficient justification or out of personal vendettas. Those named in the petition have the right to schedule a hearing through the Minnesota Judicial Branch website, where judges in the local district court will make the final decision on whether to remove a firearm.

As the law takes effect, it remains to be seen how it will be implemented and its impact across the state. Supporters of the law echo the sentiments of Governor Tim Walz, who believes that if the law saves even one life, it will be worth it.

In conclusion, Minnesota has implemented a new “red flag” law, known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order law, which allows eligible individuals to file petitions for temporary or permanent orders. Despite concerns raised by gun rights groups, supporters see the law as a potential life-saving measure. The law is now in effect, and its impact will be monitored closely.