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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Do 'red flag' laws prevent shootings?

“I just might come to yo school and kill everybody,” a 17-year-old former student wrote in an Instagram message. He specifically threatened the principal and a counselor at the Fort Lauderdale alternative school, and included a photo of a handgun and a rifle and the name of the alternative school. Using Florida's "red flag" laws, police got a "risk protection order" to seize the boy's guns.

Nobody was shot, reports Sheryl Gay Stolberg in the New York Times. But, was it the law or luck? The police found no weapons in the home. Detectives believed he'd hidden them elsewhere.

"The former student was facing 13 felony and two misdemeanor charges, including robbery, carjacking and battery, stemming from previous episodes," she writes. "He had also received a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, a condition in which patients experience psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions."

The next month he was arrested for firing a gun in the house, wounding his sister in the hand.

“What good did the risk protection order do,” asked Judge Jack Tuter, “if at the end of the day, he ended up getting a gun, which he was prohibited from doing; he ended up getting ammunition, which he was prohibited from doing; and he ended up using the gun?”

The 6-year-old Virginia boy who shot and nearly killed his first-grade teacher suffers from an "acute disability," his family said. The boy's mother or father had accompanied him in school each day as part of an "intensive care plan" -- until the week of the shooting.

School staff in Clark County, Nevada now have "crisis alert" badges they can press to summon help, reports Lorraine Longhi in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It's a $5 million system, including the first-year's subscription.

The badges, which can trigger a schoolwide lockdown or summon help from administrators or school police, are a "response to a spate of violence that culminated in the violent assault of a teacher at Eldorado High School, allegedly by a student," writes Longhi.

Fights are trending down this year, but two staff members were injured in a fight at a high school on Dec 16. Three students were arrested.

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