Committee chair: No need for red flag law

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The chair of a committee that typically handles gun legislation says he has no plans to move red flag laws in the near future.

​Red flag legislation allows family members and police to seek a court order that temporarily removes guns from people who pose a serious threat to themselves or others.

​​”There’s absolutely no need for any kind of red flag law in the forseeable future,” said state Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin), chair of the House Judiciary Committee.​​

The committee on Tuesday passed a dozen gun-related bills including House Bill 1835, sponsored by Kauffman. The measure would reduce the time in which people must surrender guns after discharge from an involuntary mental health commitment for inpatient treatment from 60 days to 48 hours.

​”That’s a process that makes sure people get treatment and they relinquish their firearms,” Kauffman said. “When you talk red flag, there’s no treatment involved. It’s just about taking folks’ guns out of their hands.”​​

Some gun safety advocates are upset by Kauffman’s decision to not bring red flag legislation up for a vote but say they’re not done fighting.

​​”I think it’s outrageous. I think it’s a dereliction of duty,” said Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA. “And we can guarantee you that Chairman Kauffman will be hearing from not only from his constituents but from Pennsylvanians all over that believe the chairman of the Judiciary owes more to the people of Pennsylvania.”​​

Gov. Tom Wolf released a statement saying he was disappointed by Kauffman’s decision.​​

“I am extremely frustrated today that the House Judiciary Chairman pledged not to allow votes on any additional bipartisan commonsense gun safety priorities,” Wolf said. “As citizens across Pennsylvania demand gun safety action, the chairman is going in the opposite direction.”

Another proposal reported out of the committee, House Bill 1066, would allow groups to sue local governments that pass gun ordinances stricter than the state law.

Wolf said if that bill passes the Legislature, he will veto it.​Get breaking news, weather, and traffic on the go. Download our News App and our Weather App for your phone and tablet.

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