How a ‘Red Flag’ Law Failed in Indiana

A gunman killed eight people at a FedEx facility last week, despite legislation that sought to prevent people like him from acquiring weapons. What went wrong?,

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How a ‘Red Flag’ Law Failed in Indiana

A gunman killed eight people at a FedEx facility last week, despite legislation that sought to prevent people like him from acquiring weapons. What went wrong?

Hosted by Michael Barbaro; produced by Robert Jimison, Luke Vander Ploeg and Diana Nguyen; edited by Dave Shaw; music by Rachelle Bonja and Dan Powell; and engineered by Chris Wood.

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April 22, 2021, 6:00 a.m. ET


Last spring, Brandon Hole’s mother alerted the police in Indiana about her son’s behavior. He had just bought a gun and was threatening suicide.

In response, the police invoked the state’s “red flag” law, which allows for the seizure of a firearm from a person deemed a risk to themselves or others.

But over the summer, Mr. Hole was able to legally purchase two semiautomatic weapons. And last week, he opened fire on a FedEx facility, killing eight people and then himself.

Why did the law fail?


ImageMourners attending a vigil on Saturday for the eight people killed in the shooting in Indianapolis.
Mourners attending a vigil on Saturday for the eight people killed in the shooting in Indianapolis.Credit…Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

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Campbell Robertson contributed reporting.

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