FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Fairfax County officials are urging residents to utilize the “Red Flag Law” in the state of Virginia.

The law allows people to notify police if someone with a gun is in danger to others or themselves.

A court order would temporarily allow law enforcement to investigate and remove a gun from individuals considered to be an imminent threat. Law enforcement are granted the ability to remove the firearm with a judge’s permission.

James Walkinshaw, Braddock District supervisor, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, says guns and domestic violence “do not mix.”

“Firearms contribute to domestic violence. They significantly increase the lethality of domestic violence situations,” said Walkinshaw. “A victim of domestic violence, whose abuser has access to a firearm, is five times more likely to be murdered.”

Officials say the law can also help save those dealing with a mental health crisis.

“Suicide is the leading cause of death in the United States, and firearms are the most common method of death by suicide,” said Belinda Massaro, mobile crisis unit manager for the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board. “This law can be a public health, life-saving tool to prevent gun tragedies.”

Fairfax Commonwealth Attorney Steve Descano says despite some calls to repeal the law, the legislation is “too important.”

“Some in Richmond have expressed a willingness to repeal these red flag laws. We cannot let that happen,” said Descano.

Since the law took effect in July 2020, the county has issued 18 substantial risk orders. Officials also removed guns from those homes.

You can learn more about the law on the county’s website.