Livingston County sheriff enforces 'red flag' gun law despite vowing not to

Despite previously vowing not to enforce Michigan's recently approved "red flag" gun law, Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy was one of the first in the state to use it. 

This comes after the sheriff previously called the law unconstitutional.

The "red flag" law allows for a person’s guns to be taken away if a court or law enforcement agency thinks they are a threat to themselves or others.

"I still have a lot of concerns about the law," Murphy said by phone on Tuesday. "I don’t agree with the law and there’s a lot of reasons for that, but at the end of the day it is the law."

Murphy said he has and will use the Emergency Risk Protection Order to confiscate weapons if it’s one more way to keep people safe.

If a family member voices concerns and a judge approves, the person with the guns has a full day to turn them over.

"If someone’s having a meltdown, and they got weapons, I think it’s a good idea to take them if they have a history of violence or background," said Pete Johnson of Livingston County. "If it’s obvious that they’re a threat, and they’ve made verbal and threats online and stuff – yeah I think it’s totally, totally there."

The sheriff talked about a recent call involving a man having a mental health crisis.

"He answers the door, he’s got pistols in each pocket –kind of like an old western six shooter– threatens he’s going to kill us, he’s going to kill the neighbors," Murphy said. "So we take him into custody, and we took his guns."

The sheriff said he’d still like to see pro-gun groups get the law into court for a ruling.

The Livingston County Board of Commissioners even backed up his opposition to the law by declaring Livingston a Constitutional County that stands behind the Second Amendment.

But many Livingston County residents have mixed opinions.

"I can also see those situations where I’ve dealt with mentally ill patients and I can see why some people would think that it’s a necessary law, but again, for me, it’s just such a slippery slope anytime the government infringes on our constitutional rights," said April Floyd, a former first responder.


New Michigan gun laws go into effect Feb. 13: Safe storage, 'red flag', and expanded background checks rules

For anyone who violates any of the three new gun laws, there are added penalties like jail time and thousands of dollars in fines in Michigan.