President Trump suggests red flag laws, but gun rights advocates dislike the original

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- President Trump offered condolences and the first steps towards the change a lot of people have demanded in the hours after more than 30 people died in mass shootings 13 hours apart.

Among his suggestions are quicker capital punishment, stronger background checks, and red flag laws like the one instituted in California three years ago.

"We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process," the president said at a press conference Monday morning.

California was the first state to give immediate family members, and police, the ability to get a court order temporarily barring a mentally unstable person from having any guns.

The state Department of Justice has an active list of about 9,400 people barred from owning firearms -- mostly because of previous criminal convictions. But 17 percent of those people are prohibited for mental health events.

When agents seized weapons from a Clovis man in 2011, neighbors told Action News the man sometimes referred to his bunker-filled yard as his "kill zone."

Fresno County sheriff's deputies say that's the type of information they can use to prevent mass shootings.

"It could be that person who's posting something on social media, who's making comments, threatening neighbors, saying things like 'y'all need to go back where you came from' or like you just said 'hey, this is my kill zone. this is my front lawn,'" said Fresno County assistant sheriff John Zanoni. "Those things are not normal, and those people are showing they could become dangerous."

But gun rights advocates point out that even though a judge has to approve any weapons seizures, you can't defend yourself until afterward, when you get a hearing to prove the order was unnecessary.

They call the red flag law suggestion a kneejerk reaction to a horrible event.

"I'm not condoning it," said Jacob Belemjian, who owns The Firing Line in Clovis. "I don't approve of it. It's wrong. It's illegal. It's all those things, but in order to prevent that it's unacceptable to me to trample on somebody's right to due process."

The California state assembly is also considering three bills to tighten the red flag laws -- including one allowing co-workers and bosses to ask for a gun violence restraining order.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.