Democratic state lawmakers look to expand Red Flag Law

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Democratic Connecticut lawmakers are looking to expand the Red Flag Law.

Under the Red Flag Law, police can temporarily take a person's gun if they are deemed a threat. Norwalk police say the law may have prevented a mass shooting a few months ago.

Brandon Wagshol was a clean-cut college student. But privately, as early as sixth grade, an arrest warrant says he threatened a school shooting that would "make Virginia Tech look like nothing."

"There was a Facebook post that indicated his interest in mass murder that certainly raised an eyebrow," said Lt. Terry Blake in August 2019.

Police seized Wagshol's weapons, including illegal high capacity magazines, under Connecticut's Red Flag Law.

Right now, two separate officers or a prosecutor have to make the request. But some Democrats say the law doesn't go far enough.

Under a new bill, relatives, roommates, doctors, their assistants and some nurses could all bypass police and directly ask a judge to confiscate someone's weapons if they're deemed a threat.

"If I lost my job tomorrow and I was threatening to commit suicide and I said this to my wife, there's no ability for my wife to go and ask that the firearms be removed from the home," said state Rep. Steve Stafstrom.

But the head of Connecticut's biggest gun owners group says cutting police out of the process is a recipe for abuse.

"What we've seen is that, of those cases that went before a judge...once the judge heard both sides, 40% of those cases, the judge found no grounds to take their firearms," said Holly Sullivan, of Connecticut Citizens Defense League.

Last year, 245 people had to turn their guns over to police.

Norwalk police, FBI arrest man who 'showed interest' in a mass shooting
Police use Red Flag Law to seize weapons of man who 'showed interest' in mass shootings
Bond kept at $250K for Norwalk man accused of showing interest in mass shooting
Brandon Wagshol, accused of showing interest in mass shooting, released on bond
Conditions of release modified for Norwalk man who allegedly had interest in mass shootings
Norwalk man arrested for allegedly assaulting neighbor, throwing him into a wall 

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