Sending Office: Honorable Susan W. Brooks
Sent By:
Rob.Hicks@mail.house.gov

Dear Colleague,

I invite you to become a cosponsor of H.R. 2786, the Jake Laird Act.  This bill will provide grants to encourage states to adopt laws, that require both
due process and probable cause, enabling local law enforcement to take and retain firearms from individuals who are determined to be an imminent danger to themselves or others.

On August 18, 2004, a mentally ill man in Indiana killed his mother and went on a shooting rampage in his neighborhood.  Five Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officers were shot responding to the incident and one was killed, Officer Jake Laird.  In the aftermath,
it was revealed that months prior, the man was medically detained on an Indiana Emergency Detention order for dangerousness and had his firearms taken.  After his release from the detention he requested the return of his firearms.  Law enforcement had no legal
recourse to retain his firearms despite concerns about the risk to others due to his mental health following his release.

 

In response to the shooting and the death of Officer Laird, the Indiana General Assembly almost unanimously passed the Jake Laird Law in 2005.  The legislation allows for firearms to be taken from dangerous individuals with probable cause and provides due
process in a court of law to allow the firearms to be retained by law enforcement.  It has been used over 700 times in Indianapolis alone since being signed into law.  In addition to the state of Indiana, California, Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, Vermont,
and Florida have similar laws in place, and more than 20 states are currently considering similar measures.

Tragic violent shootings continue to happen across our nation and federal data indicates that active shooter incidents are on the rise, with many shooters showing signs of mental illness.  Nearly a quarter of the incidents occur at schools and our nation
has suffered 23 school shootings in the first 21 weeks of 2018 alone.  Furthermore, firearms are used in two-thirds of suicides annually and firearms are involved in more than half of intimate partner homicides. 

My district, Indiana’s Fifth, suffered a terrible school shooting on May 25, 2018.  After meeting with students and parents of the community, I know there is more we can do to combat these heinous acts of violence.  As our nation grapples with how to combat
these incidents, local law enforcement remains on the front lines of this fight and is often responsible for halting the actions of these dangerous individuals.  It is critical we give them more tools to keep our students, teachers, schools, and communities
safe.

The Jake Laird Act will provide grants to states that enact laws substantially similar to Indiana’s Jake Laird Law which allows for firearms to be taken from dangerous individuals and provides for civil legal hearings to determine when the individual will
have their firearms returned to them.  These grants will be critical in ensuring law enforcement has knowledge of this gun violence reduction tool that can be used to deescalate dangerous situations, provide a cooling off period, and get those with mental
illness the help they need while protecting constitutional rights.

I hope you can join me join me in supporting this bipartisan legislation to help law enforcement keep our communities safe.  If you have any questions, or would like to cosponsor, please contact Rob Hicks in my office at 202-225-2276 or
rob.hicks@mail.house.gov.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Susan W. Brooks

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