On Saturday, the Department of Justice announced the creation of a resource center that will provide support for the implementation of “red flag” laws that are intended to keep people who have been deemed an “extreme risk” for violence from having guns. The announcement came on the same day that Vice President Kamala Harris visited Parkland, Florida, where 17 people died in a school shooting in 2018, and said every state should have a red flag law.

In a news release, the DOJ said that the National Extreme Risk Protection Order Resource Center “will provide training and technical assistance to law enforcement officials, prosecutors, attorneys, judges, clinicians, victim service and social service providers, community organizations, and behavioral health professionals responsible for implementing laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of people who pose a threat to themselves or others.”

The center is a joint effort between the Justice Department and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, home of the Center for Gun Violence Solutions.

“Extreme risk” gun laws are not new; 21 states and the District of Columbia have some form of red-flag law in place. Per the DOJ news release, “ERPO laws, which are modeled off domestic violence protection orders, create a civil process allowing law enforcement, family members (in most states), and medical professionals or other groups (in some states) to petition a court to temporarily prohibit someone at risk of harming themselves or others from purchasing and possessing firearms for the duration of the order.”

The DOJ said the center would provide a clearinghouse of resources to support states that already have such laws, and those considering them, as well as provide a platform “to highlight emerging and promising practices in successful ERPO implementation and connect states and localities to innovative strategies to reduce gun violence and save lives.” It also said the center would provide communities with unspecified “new tools and technical assistance” to combat gun violence.

How many Utahns have a gun in their home?

But the announcement, slipped into the weekend news cycle, did not go unnoticed and unremarked by Second Amendment advocates who see the creation of the center as signaling another looming infringement on gun rights and believe that red-flag laws violate the Constitution’s promise of due process.

Some people on social media described the initiative as a “gun grab” that will target supporters of Donald Trump. One person on X wrote, “Define extreme risk ... I say that means MAGA.” Another said “Let’s just call it what it is: a red flag database to disarm MAGA.”

The White House characterized people considered “extreme risk” as people “in crisis.”

There is no federal red flag law, and U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican who represents Kentucky, complained on X that Congress had not authorized a “federal red flag center.”

Utah, where roughly half of adults have a gun in their home, is among the states that don’t have a red-flag law, although a Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll last summer showed a majority of Utah voters favor such laws. Per Deseret, “76% of Utahns favor laws that allow family members or law enforcement to use an order to temporarily remove guns from a person who is seen as a risk to themselves or others.” Democrats, at 96%, were more likely to support red-flag laws than Republicans, 67%.