Arguments Rejected On "Red Flag" Law

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Tallahassee, FL - In a case stemming from threats made by a teen to shoot school classmates, an appeals court Friday rejected a challenge to a state law that allows authorities to remove guns if people are found to pose a “significant danger” to themselves or others.

The so-called “red flag” law was passed after the 2018 mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people. It allows courts to issue what are known as “risk protection” orders that allow removal of firearms for up to a year.

A panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal on Friday issued a seven-page decision in a Polk County case that challenged the constitutionality of the law. The ruling said the Polk County Sheriff’s Office sought to confiscate two guns belonging to the parents of a 16-year-old autistic youth who had become agitated at school and threatened to shoot classmates.

The ruling identified the teen only by the initials D.T.M. and did not name his school. A circuit judge granted the sheriff’s office request, finding that the teen posed a significant danger of injuring himself and others, according to Friday’s ruling.

In part, the challenge involved whether the term “significant danger” is unconstitutionally vague. But the three-judge panel, made up of Chief Judge Nelly Khouzam and judges Stevan Northcutt and Susan Rothstein-Youakim, rejected the vagueness argument, pointing in part to a ruling last year by the 1st District Court of Appeal in another challenge to the law.

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