(HorizonPost.com) – Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine is preparing legislation that would require the US military to follow state-level red flag laws if they believe a service member is a threat to himself or others, WMTW in Maine reported.
Collins’ proposed legislation was prompted by the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine in October in which 18 people were fatally shot and 13 others injured by Army Reservist Robert Card.
Senator Collins’ office said in a statement that despite the warning signs leading to Card’s admittance to a New York psychiatric hospital and the US Army’s decision to bar his access to weapons and his participation in live-fire exercises, the units Card worked with failed to use New York’s red flag law or the yellow flag law in Maine.
Card’s unit trained West Point cadets for several years. Just months before the mass shooting, he was admitted to a New York psychiatric hospital after displaying erratic behavior. New York State Police confirmed that Card voluntarily surrendered to members of his unit who transported him first to the Army hospital at West Point.
A spokesperson for the US Army did not explain why it did not act under New York’s red flag law or Maine’s yellow flag law concerning Robert Card. However, the spokesperson said that officials from Card’s unit understood that he had been taken to a civilian hospital in New York on July 17.
David Trahan from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine helped draft the state’s yellow flag law. He told WMTW that Senator Collins’ legislation would help close a safety gap.
Trahan explained that there must be more clarity and accountability on how the military transitions a “soldier in crisis” back to their home state when he is believed to be a danger to himself or others.
Senator Collins’ legislation is still in the process of being written and the senator’s office said work on the bill would resume after the holiday recess.
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