After years of blocking any measure that would restrict gun ownership, congressional Republicans are now "coalescing around legislation to help law enforcement take guns from those who pose an imminent danger — a measure that, if signed into law, would be the most significant gun control legislation enacted in 20 years," The New York Times reports. The back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, have put Republicans under intense pressure to do something about gun violence, and "red flag" laws appear to be the most likely vehicle for action.
Congressional Democrats, who have already passed universal background check legislation in the House, are also on board with a red flag law, though some want to add on stronger gun control measures to any legislation passed in the Senate. Gun control advocates are enthusiastic about red flag measures, also called "extreme risk protection orders," and the National Rifle Association has been fighting them in states for years.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has already proposed a bill that would help states enact and enforce such laws, President Trump endorsed the idea on Monday, and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said he's "confident Congress will be able to find common ground on the so-called red flag issue." Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Dayton's congressman, Rep. Mike Turner (R), both endorsed red flag laws on Tuesday. Washington, D.C., and 17 states have some form of red flag law already on the books.
"Red flag laws might not be as momentous — or controversial — as the now-expired assault weapons ban or the instant background check system, both of which were enacted in 1994 as part of President Bill Clinton's sprawling crime bill," the Times says, but with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocking all other gun laws, they "may be the only gun-related measure that could squeeze through."