“We know this works. We know for every 10 times this is utilized, at least one life is saved,” Mike Lawlor, criminal justice professor at the University of New Haven, said.
Since Connecticut’s "Red Flag" law went into effect in 1999, the Connecticut Judicial Branch said there have been 2,605 risk warrants filed. Advocates say it's saved potentially hundreds of Connecticut lives from gun violence.
“There are clear instances where a tragedy was imminent and police were able because of this mechanism, to intervene, separate someone from their firearms, refer them for mental health evaluation,” Lawlor said.
As of June 1, under the newly expanded law, family members and medical professionals can now raise a "red flag" themselves if they believe someone is at immediate risk of causing personal injury to themselves or others with a firearm.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
“It has not been infrequent that psychologists or primary providers or nurses or even counselors are reaching out saying that, 'I have a patient, I have a client who is presenting these warning signs,'” Lawlor said.
There are now two options in Connecticut to try to get a court order that will keep a person from having or getting deadly firearms, weapons or ammunition.
If you want the police to start investigating whether someone is a risk right away, you can contact any police officer to ask them to investigate whether there is enough evidence to ask the court for a risk protection order.
If you don’t want to go to the police yourself, you can apply to the court for a risk protection order investigation by going to any G.A. Courthouse to apply.
“What the new law does is expands the discretion of the court right so now the court is not bound by that one-year-only, the court can issue an order for longer then that year,” Jeremy Stein with Connecticut Against Gun Violence said.
After that time, the law also allows the gun owner to petition the court if they have gotten help and are no longer an imminent risk of harming themselves or others.
You can find more information on how you can apply for a risk protection order investigation by clicking here.