Alabama House Democrats Push to Reduce Gun Violence
Democratic lawmakers say they want to find a way to reduce gun violence in Alabama.
In the wake of the Florida shooting, they’re pushing a bill aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of those may suffer from mental illness. The proposal among many others is called a emergency risk protective order and it is something that they want to see action on before this legislative session is over.
“We’ve studied gun violence enough and we cannot allow anymore children to be at risk in the state of Alabama and in this country,” says Rep. Merika Coleman.
That is where the emergency risk protective order comes in, to lessen gun access to anyone who may be at risk of harming themselves or others.
“This could have been a tool that could have prevented that tragedy. Someone could have gone, petitioned and those guns could have been taken away,” says Coleman.
Coleman says family members or law enforcement would be able to petition for a protective order, if they observe dangerous behavior. The petition would lead to a court hearing based on credible evidence.
“This evidence may include recent threats or acts of violence by the respondent toward him or herself, recent violations of domestic violence protective orders, or evidence of a pattern of violent threats or acts,” says Coleman.
She says, if this order was in place, it could have prevented the Parkland, Florida shooting from happening. But looking ahead, it is something that could possibly prevent others.
“Anybody who cares about the protection of our children, the protection of our senior citizens, the protection of families and churches and movie theaters in addition to our schools should support getting rid of or having access to the extreme risk protective orders in the state of Alabama,” says Coleman.
That is why she along with other democratic legislators say the time for change is now.
“For the sake of potential victims in the state of Alabama and I would say even in the rest of the country. Let’s get this done and not waste time and not waste another day.”
Coleman says members of the House Democratic Caucaus are open to suggestions and examples of how the order has worked in other states.
The most recent state to pass the emergency risk protective order is Oregon in 2017.