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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell

Representing the 12th District of Michigan

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Dingell, Brooks, Upton, Deutch Hold Press Conference to Introduce Jake Laird Act

May 9, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Susan W. Brooks (IN-05), Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Fred Upton (MI-06) held a press conference to introduce H.R. 5717, the Jake Laird Act, a bipartisan bill named after an Indianapolis, Indiana police officer who was shot and killed in 2004 in the line of duty by a man who struggled with mental illness.

This bill provides grants to encourage states to adopt laws, similar to Indiana’s 2005 Jake Laird Law, that enable local law enforcement, with probable cause, to seize and retain firearms from individuals who are determined to be an imminent danger to themselves or others.

The families of the victims killed in the tragedy in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, wrote a letter to show their support for the Jake Laird Act. To read the letter, click here

“We have a responsibility to come together – Democrats and Republicans – to keep our schools and communities safe,” said Dingell. “In the weeks since the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida, I have met with law enforcement, prosecutors, mental health experts, the ACLU, students, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders to find common ground. One of the biggest takeaways from these conversations is that we need to provide family members and law enforcement the tools needed when they know someone is a threat to themselves or others. The Jake Laird Act builds on a successful Indiana law to help provide local law enforcement – who are on the frontlines of responding to these crises – with the resources necessary to act before warning signs escalate into tragedies, all while protecting due process.”

“The Jake Laird Law has been used successfully more than 600 times in Indianapolis since 2005 and should be used as a model for states nationwide,” said Brooks. “As our country continues to grapple with how to keep our communities safe, the Jake Laird Act will provide our local law enforcement officers the tools and training necessary to prevent senseless acts of violence from claiming more innocent lives. After many meetings with students, teachers, school administrators, law enforcement departments and fellow members of Congress, I am proud to introduce this bipartisan gun violence reduction tool that will help us better avoid situations that could jeopardize countless lives while also protecting individual constitutional rights.”

“This bipartisan legislation will encourage states, like Michigan, to adopt common-sense ‘Red Flag’ laws – with stringent due process and probable cause – to prevent those in imminent danger to themselves or others to have firearms,” said Upton. “As I’ve sat down with countless students, teachers, law enforcement officials, gun owners, and others in my area – this has been an idea that constantly comes up. We’ve been successful in getting bipartisan legislation passed to improve our background check system, increase funding for mental health, and billions for school safety programs. These efforts will make a real difference. The Jake Laird Act will be yet another tool in our law enforcement tool box. And my focus is on making sure they also have the proper training to make the proper decisions to prevent dangerous individuals from using firearms to harm themselves or others.”

“I made a promise to the Stoneman Douglas community that I’d do everything I can, work with any Member of Congress, and consider all options to help prevent gun violence,” said Deutch. “The Jake Laird Act is based on an existing state model that was passed with bipartisan support after the tragic death of Officer Laird. We are introducing this successful model in Congress, also with bipartisan support, to help the remaining states and territories without gun violence restraining order laws pass what could be live-saving tools.”

For a one-page summary of the bill, click here.