The facts emerging about the recent shooting death in Waterville – suggesting a years-long troubled relationship involving known direct threats to kill the eventual victim made by a man who, his family says, suffers from mental illness, and had multiple guns stored at multiple locations – are chilling. This tragic death of a young mother, reportedly threatened in the presence of the pair’s young children, offers a compelling case for a “red flag” law.

Once a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a person with access to guns could foreseeably kill someone, does endorsement of the officer’s conclusion by a medical officer and then a judicial officer (as required by the compromise “yellow flag” law) justify leaving the intended human target at such a risk?

The Legislature’s failure to enact a “red flag” law earlier this year deprived family, friends and law enforcement of a chance to intervene, and very possibly avoid the killing and trauma that were to come.

Greg Sample


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