Red flag laws and the Colorado LGBTQ club shooting

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The killing of five patrons in a Colorado LGBTQ bar on Nov. 19, 2022, is the latest mass shooting to garner headlines in the U.S.

Police have said they have yet to determine a motive. But one thing that has emerged is that the suspect had a history of violent plans, having allegedly threatened to attack his mother with a homemade bomb more than a year before the attack at Club Q.

It has led to questions over why that earlier alleged incident did not trigger Colorado’s “red flag” law – something that may have prevented him from acquiring the AR-15-style semi-automatic weapon that police say was used in the Club Q attack. The Conversation asked Alex McCourt, an expert on gun laws at Johns Hopkins University, to explain how red flag laws are supposed to work – and why they weren’t triggered in this case.

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