New Research on Red Flag Laws: Do Red Flag Laws Save Lives or Reduce Crime?

Jan 20, 2019 | Featured

Dr. John Lott and Professor Carl Moody have new research on the Red Flag Laws/Extreme Risk Protective Orders. A copy of the new research can be obtained here.


Red flag laws had no significant effect on murder, suicide, the number of people killed in mass public shootings, robbery, aggravated assault, or burglary. There is some evidence that rape rates rise. These laws apparently do not save lives.

The information needed to replicate tables and robustness checks for paper is available here.

There is an interesting dichotomy in how people treat diseases such as AIDS versus these Red Flag laws. For AIDS, the belief is that if you force those with AIDS to be quarantined or monitored, people won’t get the treatment that they need. Even when there are people with AIDS who might consciously contaminant others (e.g., see this). But the same concern applies to people who worry that if they confide their problems with others, that their guns will be taken away. Suppose that the person is a police officer or a military veteran. Might they be reticent to tell others about their problems? What happens if the person is a woman who is depressed but she is also being stalked.



  1. Charrles Jessee

    I sent this paper to all sponsors of the recently filed New Hampshire ERPO “Red Flag Law” bill and provided email addresses of sponsors and a sample letter referencing this paper on our NE firearms forum.

  2. Michael Fallon

    The biggest concern, in these Red Flag States, is the total lack of DUE PROCESS for the accused, prior to confiscation. This is being challenged now, I believe in Federal court.

  3. Joe

    First and foremost, red flag laws are unconstitutional and illegal. The Constitution is thrown out the window and red dh lag laws are tyrannical. You’re guilty until found innocent and there’s no due process and you cannot face your accuser and hearsay is used as evidence. They are being used as part of the conspiracy and agenda to disarm as many Americans as possible and have nothing to do with safety. Bloomberg and his groups like Everytown and moms demand action have these laws ready to go and bribe politicians to pass these laws all over the country.

  4. Gail Engelhardt

    I hear lot of complaints and some exaggerated facts on Red Flag laws, but what I don’t hear are any concrete solutions.
    If we are going to stop or decrease possible mass shootings, we must address the mental health issue along with the anger management Issue. The two seem to be the common denominators in these perpetrators of these type of crimes. Somehow we have to get family and/ or friends to ask for help for their loved one as soon as they see behavior that is not normal.
    What else can we do? Make sure the mentally ill person does not have access to a gun, knife or vehiweapon use as a weapon.
    Just my thoughts on the matter.

    • Misty

      No access to a gun, a knife or a vehicle???
      Then you’d have to have them put in a locked facility.
      Sorry…that might be the dumbest comment I’ve heard on this subject.

  5. Carol Robarts-Mobley

    This all started when the Govt. started interfering in the way parents raise and discipline their children. Get the govt. out of parenting and put discipline back in schools also. These people need to be taught to respect others and their thoughts, ideas. and space. In other words LEAVE well enough alone teach what children of my era were taught that if you do something there will be consequences whether that be good or bad depends on your actions


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