Albany passes ‘Red Flag Law’ on guns

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | Sponsors of New York’s Extreme Risk Protection Order law last week announced the new gun-control measure would go into effect Sat., Aug. 24., making this the 17th state to enact such a bill. Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law in February.

State Senators Brian Kavanagh and Brad Hoylman and Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Jo Anne Simon spoke about the bill outside the Manhattan courts on Thurs., Aug. 22.

State Senator Brian Kavanagh spoke about the “Red Flag” Law that prevents people posing threats to themselves or others from possessing, owning or purchasing a firearm, rifle or handgun. Others at the press conference included state Senators Brad Hoylman and Kevin Parker, Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Jo Anne Simon, and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance and his Bronx counterpart, Darcel Clark. (Courtesy Brian Kavanagh’s Office).

The legislation, also called the “Red Flag Law,” prevents those who might be a risk to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm, rifle or shotgun.

“Sat., Aug. 24 is a big day for everyone who joined the effort we began in 2014 to empower New Yorkers to save lives,” said Kavanagh, the bill’s prime sponsor chairperson of American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention.

Glick added, “As we continue to see a disturbing rise in mass shootings and deaths by gun violence throughout the country, especially suicides made easier by guns, it is imperative to ensure that New York State residents have the ability to recognize potentially dangerous and violent individuals before a tragedy occurs. This law will keep New York State individuals, families and schools safe from the threats of extremist gun violence.”

Under the law, household members, relatives, law enforcement officers, district attorneys and school administrators can file a petition with the state Supreme Court to issue a protective order preventing someone from owning, purchasing or attempting to purchase a firearm.

Petitioners must present evidence in State Supreme Court that the person has access to, owns or possesses a firearm — rifle or handgun —and is at risk of harming him- or herself or others. Petitions must be filed in the county in which the potentially dangerous person resides.

It’s expected that a decision on the petition will be made the same day it is filed. Some factors the court will take into account include if the person has ever violated an order of protection, currently has substance-abuse issues, or has pending charges on the use of a weapon and threat of violence of use of physical force toward themselves or others.

Three to six days after the decision, a follow-up hearing would be held on whether or not to keep weapons out of the person’s home for up to a year.

“At a time when we can’t count on our president to respond to two mass shootings in 24 hours with any real proposals to prevent gun violence, it is more important than ever that New York step up to the plate and do what’s necessary,” Hoylman said, in a statement.

On Aug. 3, Patrick Crusius, 21, opened fire in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart, killing 22 people and injuring 10 others. The following day, Conner Betts, 24, killed 24 people and injured 27 others with an AK-47 rifle outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio.

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