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States Implement ‘Red Flag’ Laws After A Year of Mass Shootings

New gun safety laws took effect in several states on January 1 after the nation ended 2023 with more mass shootings than days. States including California, Illinois and Colorado are starting the year by implementing extreme risk protection orders, commonly referred to as “red flag” laws, as a means to prevent further gun violence, the Guardian reports. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 655 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2023.  Also in 2023, the U.S. recorded more than 18,800 gun deaths, 36,200 gun injuries, and over 24,100 gun suicides. A California law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom prohibits people from carrying concealed guns in 26 places including public parks and playgrounds, churches, banks and zoos. In Illinois, a law went into effect on Monday that bans the sale of many types of semiautomatic assault weapons, including AK-47s and AR-15 rifles, and magazines with more than 10 rounds for rifles and more than 15 rounds for handguns.


Also effective on Monday is a Washington state law imposing a 10-day waiting period on firearms purchases. The law intends to create a buffer between people in crisis and a firearm. It will also require all gun buyers to show they have taken safety training. The measure is part of a package signed in April by Gov. Jay Inslee, which included a ban on the sale of certain semiautomatic rifles, clearing the way for lawsuits against gun makers or sellers in certain cases. In Colorado, a new law that bans so-called “ghost guns”, or those that can be made at home using parts kits and which typically lack a serial number, goes into effect this week. Pro-gun groups filed a federal lawsuit claiming the law restricts Second Amendment rights of gun owner.


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