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Indianapolis currently has 8 red flag cases in courtrooms. Each person can still buy a gun.

Posted at 12:24 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 13:03:08-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's red flag law, otherwise known as the Jake Laird Law, went into effect in 2005.

Since then, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has removed weapons from people dealing with a mental health issue more than 1,000 times.

In 2019, IMPD began tracking the numbers of weapons seized in Indianapolis. In the past two years, 186 cases have led to 337 weapons taken from people. WRTV is still working to find out how many of those people had their guns and rifles returned to them.

READ | How Indiana's Jake Laird Law works |

As of the time of this report, there are eight cases that are being considered in Marion County courts.

Under the red flag law, the prosecutor must prove that a person has shown a pattern of violence or unstable behavior and had failed to take prescription medication. If proven, the prosecutor can ask a judge to ban a person from legally buying a weapon.

But the law has loopholes.

While these eight cases are playing out in courtrooms, these individuals can still make legal purchases of guns because gun store owners have no idea about their mental health.

8 current red flag cases in Indianapolis

On Jan. 8, 2020, IMPD responded to a bullet-riddled home on Indy's north side. A man suffering from psychosis since his teenage years reportedly was shooting at shadows. Police took his handgun and multiple rounds of ammunition. He's a legal gun owner.

On Jan. 12, 2020, six weapons, including three shotguns, were removed from a southwest side home because the man threatening to kill himself suffers from depression and has bipolar disorder. He does not have an Indiana firearms permit.

A threat of suicide got the attention of police on Nov. 27, 2020. The man was diagnosed with PTSD after working in Iraq. Police seized a shotgun and gun. The man has a valid lifetime gun permit.

This past January 25, an Army veteran had a mental breakdown. The Veteran's Administration had diagnosed him with PTSD. He also has bipolar disorder. Police seized a handgun, an AR-15 rifle, and a shotgun. He was deemed a dangerous person as defined by the red flag law.

On the southside of Indy, police responded to another Army veteran trying to kill himself on January 28. Police say his deployments "exposed him to large numbers of unnatural deaths involving victims of young ages." The man with PTSD had at least six weapons taken, including two shotguns and an AR-15.

On the northside, a parent on February 8 was pleased officers took her son's rifle and handgun. The man, who has bipolar disorder, reportedly refused to take his medicine. The mother told police that he should not get his firearms back "because they should not be in the mix with a man who has an untreated psychotic illness."

And a domestic disturbance led police to a west side home on February 20. The man was feeling depressed and a family member felt he has schizophrenia. Police were concerned enough that they took his gun to the property room.

And the eighth case involved a marine who was suicidal and had four weapons removed from his home, including two shotguns and a rifle.

Any changes to the current law would require legislative action.

The Marion County Prosecutor would prefer that people who have their weapons seized under the red flag law be unable to make any gun purchases until their case is cleared by a judge. That is not happening right now.

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