Walz highlights ‘red flag’ law now in effect in Minnesota

Watch full press conference above, from KSTP.

On Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz and other state leaders held a news conference to discuss the new “red flag” law that went into effect at the start of the new year.

“This is a positive thing, coupled with enhanced background checks that went into effect earlier last year,” Gov. Walz said Tueesday. He also added there will be enhanced penalties around the use of sear switches making the weapons fully automatic, as well as continuing to advocate for safe gun storage and gun locks.

Chief Jay Henthorne Richfield MN Chiefs of Police Association “Minnesota is now the latest state to bring into law the possible use of extreme risk protection order, or as some people have called it, the Red Flag Law,” Chief Jay Henthorne said. Henthorne, the Chief of Police in Richfield, Minnesota was speaking for the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.

From the Minnesota Department of Public Safety:

When a person is in crisis and considering harming themselves or others, they often exhibit clear warning signs. Family members and law enforcement are usually the first people to see these signs. But, in too many cases, they have few tools to take preventative action despite picking up on the signs.
Extreme Risk Protection Order laws empower loved ones or law enforcement to intervene and temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing firearms. These laws, sometimes referred to as “red flag” laws, can help de-escalate emergency situations.

The law, which established extreme risk protection orders (ERPO), allows Minnesotans to petition courts to prevent another person from purchasing or possessing firearms. An ERPO can be requested by a family or household member, law enforcement officer, city or county attorney or a guardian. Neighbors, co-workers, classmates or acquaintances cannot request an ERPO.

“We also know that this law alone isn’t the only way that people who are concerned for the safety of themselves or loved ones can reach out for help. There are civil harrassment restraining orders, civil and family orders for protection and criminal domestic abuse no contact orders,” Chief Henthorne said.

The bill was signed into law in May of last year.

Once an ERPO is established, a judge would determine if the person is a danger to themselves or others when deciding whether to grant the request.

There are two types of orders a judge can issue: an emergency order that lasts 14 days or a long-term order that can last between six months to a year. A long-term emergency protection order can only be granted after a hearing, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

If the subject of the ERPO does not transfer their firearms, law enforcement can execute a warrant.

The person who is asked to turn over their guns can request a hearing, if one isn’t scheduled, where they can present evidence.