ABERDEEN, Md. (WJZ) — A new “red flag” law could take guns out of the hands of those who present a danger in a state recently plagued by mass shootings.
Maryland’s already tight gun laws are about to lock down further.
Starting October 1, families and police can ask the courts to take guns away from people flagged as dangerous.
It aims to prevent attacks like the one at the Rite Aid distribution center last Thursday.
The law goes on the books a week and a half after the mass attack in Harford County.
It will be a complicated law to enforce, but police hope it will also be a tool to help prevent this kind of violence.
The state of Maryland is bringing a law to a gun fight.
New legislation will double down on already strict firearm regulations by giving families and law enforcement the power to ask the courts to take guns away from people who could be a danger to themselves or others.
“This is brand new for all of us. This is something law enforcement across the state is preparing for,” said Captain Carl Brooks, with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.
Cpt. Brooks spoke to WJZ on Wednesday from the same parking lot where less than one week ago, Harford County’s Sheriff released information on the shooter who killed three people at the Rite Aid distribution center.
Early in the investigation, her family told deputies that 26-year-old Snochia Moseley had shown signs of mental illness in the weeks leading up to the mass shooting.
She’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia, but Moseley reportedly did not disclose that when she legally bought the handgun used in the attack.
Legal experts say she sidestepped the part of the purchase process that relies on honesty.
“If the shooter was the one suffering from the mental health disorder, she would be the wrong person to ask as to whether she’s qualified to have that handgun,” attorney Adam Ruther said.
If the soon-to-be law could have taken the weapon out of her hands and the lives of three people, no one will ever know.
But deputies are already training to enforce what will be on the books with the hope that it will work.
“Had the law been in place, I think what would have happened is, it would have given the family the opportunity to use some avenues that, currently, are not available,” Cpt. Brooks added. “That step was missing before. We had to wait for an action to occur. Now we can take some steps ahead of time and, hopefully, prevent these things from happening.”
Certain mental health professionals will also be able to red flag gun owners after October 1.