INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Vice President Mike Pence believes Indiana’s red flag law could be used as a potential blueprint for similar laws across the country.
The VP held a roundtable discussion over red flag laws Wednesday with various Indiana law enforcement officials. The discussion was part of a conversation Pence says the Trump administration is engaging in to help prevent tragedies like the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
“I’m here to listen and to carry back Indiana’s experience into our discussions at the White House,” Pence said.
The Vice President touted Indiana’s red flag laws as a tool that’s helped to prevent incidents of gun violence, specifically when it comes to those with mental health issues and instances of suicide.
“While we will always defend the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms, we don’t want people who are a danger to themselves or others to have access to firearms,” Pence said.
Indiana’s red flag law was inspired by and named after Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer Timothy “Jake” Laird, who was killed in the line of duty in 2004. Mike and Debbie Laird, Jake’s parents, took part in Wednesday’s roundtable.
“What this law did, it was a tool for the police department to help, not only them, but to help civilians and people who may be a danger to themselves,” Mike Laird said.
In Indianapolis alone, red flag laws have been used more than 700 times, allowing officers to temporarily take guns away from someone if they find probable cause that the person may hurt themselves or others.
Pence said President Donald Trump is looking closely at red flag laws as a method of dealing with gun violence and mass shootings, but stopped short of saying the administration would pursue a nationwide policy.
“As we look at these proposals in congress, they’re designed to encourage states to adopt these laws, because the ability to process these warrants, to give individuals the due process that’s essential to protect the constitutional rights of every American, best happen in state and local jurisdictions,” said the Vice President.
So far, 17 states have adopted red flag laws.
Pence said the Trump administration is also looking at speeding up death penalty procedures for those involved in mass shootings, or the killing of law enforcement officers. The vice president added that if someone engages in either one of those acts, the American people shouldn’t have to wait “15 to 20 years until justice is served.”