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Hundreds of guns seized under Florida 'red flag' law: 'It violates the Constitution

Authorities have seized hundreds of guns in Florida under the Risk Protection Act. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Since the "red flag" law was enacted in March, Florida authorities have filed more than 400 orders to seize firearms from gun owners or ban them from owning one due to perceived risk to themselves or others, WFTS-TV reported.

Although the laws are intended to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, some feel the Risk Protection Act violates citizens' rights.

"I think we're doing this because it makes us feel safer," attorney Kendra Parris said. "It violates the Constitution."

What is the Risk Protection Act?

After a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February, it was discovered that the killer had exhibited signs of threatening and potentially dangerous behavior before the massacre.

The Risk Protection Act was quickly passed through the Florida Legislature, giving the state the power to file risk protection petitions against gun owners who are found to be dangerous or irresponsible by a judge.

How many have been filed in Florida?

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 467 risk protection cases have been filed in Florida since the law took effect in March.

In Pinellas County, the sheriff's office put together a five-person team fully dedicated to risk protection orders, and they've taken about 200 guns and 30,000 rounds of ammunition.

Not specific enough?

Parris, who represents some citizens targeted by the risk protection orders, said the law is written so vaguely that it is impacting people who are not really a threat to anyone.

"These are individuals who are often exercising their First Amendment rights online, who are protecting constitutionally protected speech online," Parris told WFTS. "Maybe it was odious, maybe people didn't like it, but they were hit with a risk protection order because of it."

Parris cited some examples, including a college student who praised mass shooters online, and a case in which a minor said she had a dream of killing. In neither of those cases was the individual a gun owner, and both won their cases against the authorities who filed the risk protection petition.

"As it's written now, the harm can be in six months or maybe in a year this person will go crazy, we don't know, but out of an abundance of caution we need to get this risk protection in place," Parris said, saying the law should be revised to focus on imminent threats.

(H/T The Hill)

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