Indianapolis prosecutors didn’t petition a judge to block FedEx shooter Brandon Hole from buying firearms after a previous mental health incident because they didn’t think they could convince the court he had a “high propensity for violence,” they admitted Monday.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said Indiana’s “red flag law,” which can bar gun owners from purchasing firearms if they’re proven to be a danger to themselves or others, is limited in what it could accomplish and has a tight timeframe that makes it difficult to make a case.
“I think it’s important to note that this case does illustrate some of the shortcomings that exist with this ‘red flag law,’” Mears said.
Hole, who killed eight people last week at the shipping facility, was arrested last March after his mother called 911 saying he had a brand new shotgun and had expressed a desire to commit suicide by cop.
The 19-year-old and his family voluntarily handed over the shotgun to police before he was placed on a temporary psychiatric hold, Mears said.
Prosecutors had the ability to file a petition with the court to bar Hole from being able to purchase guns in the state, but they would’ve had to make the case in just 14 days, Mears said.
If they lost, they’d have to give the shotgun back — a risk the office wasn’t willing to take, the prosecutor said.
“In this particular situation, we had a case where it was just a single incident, there weren’t any other incidents reported to us, the firearm was taken from the home, there was an agreement that firearm wouldn’t be returned,” Mears explained.
“We did not file a follow-up petition because we’d already achieved our objective” by taking the firearm away, Mears said.
In order to build a strong case against Hole, prosecutors would’ve had to subpoena his medical records and mental health history. But all Indiana citizens have 30 days before they have to answer a subpoena, which would’ve been well beyond the 14-day deadline, Mears said.
Without those records, the prosecutor didn’t think they could bring a strong enough case before the court, which allowed Hole to later legally purchase the two firearms he used in the deadly rampage last week.