INDIANAPOLIS — Last year's FedEx mass shooting prompted a lot of talk about red flag laws.
"Red flag" refers to catching warning signs — or red flags — that someone who has a gun is mentally unstable and likely to use that firearm to harm themselves or others.
It allows police to seize the person's gun, and if a judge finds probable cause, it also prevents that person from buying more.
More than a year before the FedEx shooting, police say they had taken guns from the shooter's home — but nothing stopped him from purchasing more because the case never made it to a judge.
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At the time, the prosecutor blamed what he called shortcomings with the law.
"From the tight timeline that we are under," said Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears during an April 2021 press conference, "when we try to make a determination, we have 14 days under the statute, and because we have 14 days, our ability to have access to meaningful health history mental health records is severely limited."
Three weeks after the shooting, police, the prosecutor's office and the courts decided to change the way red flag cases are handled in Marion County.
Instead of the case going from police to the prosecutor to the court, police would send each case directly to the court.
"The ultimate goal is community safety. We want to make sure that people who should not have guns don't have guns," said IMPD Deputy Chief Craig McCart in May 2021.
One year later, 13Investigates asked Chief Randall Taylor how it's working.
"I do think it was a success," Taylor said, referring to the changes. "I don't know of any cases that have slipped through or anything like that. I do think it was a better way for us to go."
Last year, according to the prosecutor and the Fraternal Order of Police, police submitted 45 red flag referrals for consideration between January and April. Eight were filed by the prosecutor's office and brought before the court.
In the year since the FedEx shooting, There were 98 weapon retention cases. Only five of them were not filed by the court. According to police, not all weapon retention cases are necessarily red flag cases.
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Police must also submit their report to the court within 48 hours of taking someone's weapons.
"Ultimately, I think us going directly through the court is a much more efficient way to go," Taylor said.
Police say none of this works without the public's help. If you're aware of someone who could be dangerous, report it immediately.
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