Reviewed court records in 19 states already implementing "red flag" laws indicated wide disparities in the frequency of orders and usage of the laws, CBS News reported.
Red flag laws allow courts to issue orders for the seizure of guns from people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others, CBS News reported Monday.
Such laws are being discussed on Capitol Hill where lawmakers are trying to negotiate a federal gun reform bill.
Gun laws have received much attention nationally following mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, that left 31 people dead.
Florida, one of the states with a red flag law, is among the states in which gun-seizure orders are most common. CBS News reported that Florida had issued 8,969 emergency risk protection orders since 2018.
Courts in Maryland, which approved its red flag law in October 2018, approved nearly 400 emergency protective orders last year.
Montgomery County, Maryland, Sheriff Darren Popkin told CBS New that the state aggressively had conducted outreach to police and social service agencies to notify them of the new law.
"This is not a theoretical approach," Popkin told CBS News. "Data and research has confirmed that several of these cases in Maryland involved threats of mass violence and these actual cases were prevented due to a number of red flag indicators."
Popkin added that the law helped avert a threat to a high school in Bethesda, Maryland, in late 2018, when a judge issued an emergency order against a student who allegedly made threatening statements on Snapchat.
New Jersey issued nearly 320 orders during a 12-month span ending in July 2020.
CBS News reported that emergency orders were less frequent in cities and areas with tighter gun laws and where possession was less common.
Only 20 orders had been issued in Washington, D.C., since 2018. Fewer than 10 New York City emergency orders were listed in state court records since 2019.
In Illinois, there was wide concern about the lack of orders despite a wave of mass shootings there. Court records obtained by CBS News showed only 51 emergency orders issued statewide in 2020 and 37 of them in 2021.
"If it's underutilized, it's a big problem. We won't be able to prevent these gun tragedies," state Rep. Denyse Stoneback, D-Skokie, said, CBS News reported.
"When the red flag law was first enacted, there was no structure put in place to inform residents or law enforcement about its passage or implementation."
Advocates of stronger gun laws urge states to ensure that laws are fully implemented and known to police departments.
"We need to expand extreme risk protection or red flag laws," Peter Ambler, of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told CBS News.
"The research shows that for every 10 to 20 orders issued, you can have one life saved. That's an extremely important thing."
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