From the very moment people started pushing red flag laws, it was fairly obvious how things would go. It’s extremely difficult to quantify what didn’t happen–it can be estimated, but it’s extremely hard and there’s likely to be questions–so people were going to cite how many times the law was used to justify its existence.
Time and time again, we get red flag law statistics that really boil down how many times did a judge decide to err on the side of caution and issue an order.
That’s literally all those numbers mean.
As bad as that is, though, many red flag orders actually are issued as a matter of last resort. Families fearful of what their loved one might do will use whatever they can. While there’s no doubt a lot of people who use them to punish others, a lot of them are probably based on genuine concern.
In New York, though, things are different. The state police are required to seek such orders at every opportunity, which is why numbers involving red flag orders being issued are less than useless.