Legislation prevents individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing guns
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, joined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on Monday fulfilled his promise to sign the Red Flag Bill, a key component of his 2019 “justice agenda,” within the first 100 days of the new legislative session. The Red Flag Bill, also known as the extreme risk protection order bill, prevents individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing any kind of firearm. This legislation builds on New York's strongest-in-the-nation gun laws and makes New York the first in the U.S. to empower its teachers and school administrators to prevent school shootings by pursuing court intervention.
"The United States loses more people to gun deaths than most developed nations. The first year of President Trump's administration, we lost 40,000 people to gun deaths – the highest number in 50 years. New York led the way by passing the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, but more must be done to end this carnage," Cuomo said. "Today, New York is proud to pass the first-in-the-nation Red Flag Bill that empowers school teachers to do something when they believe something bad is going to happen. We are empowering teachers not by giving them guns like the president wants – but by arming and empowering them with the law, so when a teacher or family member sees there is a problem, they can go to a judge and get a court-ordered evaluation. The Red Flag Bill will save lives and doesn't infringe on anybody's rights, and it is common sense."
"I traveled to schools across the state with Gov. Cuomo this past summer to push for common-sense gun safety measures," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "Signing the Red Flag Bill into law will further our efforts to combat gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of people who can harm themselves and others.”
No law currently exists in New York that enables a court to issue an order to temporarily seize firearms from a person who is showing red flags, like violent behavior, or is believed to pose a severe threat of harm to himself, herself, or others unless that person has also been accused of a crime or family offense. In addition, no state in the nation currently empowers its teachers and school administrators to prevent school shootings by pursuing court intervention.
The governor’s team said, “The Red Flag Bill provides all necessary procedural safeguards to ensure that no firearm is removed without due process while ensuring that tragedies, like the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, are not repeated. In this mass shooting, the shooter was reported by multiple sources to be disturbed and dangerous, yet was allowed to purchase and possess deadly firearms. In fact, more than half of all perpetrators of mass shootings exhibit warning signs before the shooting, according to a recent analysis. In these cases, an extreme risk protection order could have prevented countless, needless deaths.
"The scourge of gun violence throughout the nation is one of the most pressing issues of our time. Currently, the U.S. has the highest homicide-by-firearm rate among the world's most developed nations. In the most recent year of data, gun deaths rose to their highest level in fifty years.”
Cuomo previously advanced the legislation to keep guns away from individuals who pose a danger with the launch of a statewide campaign to pass the Red Flag Gun Protection Bill in June of 2018. The campaign included a series of bus tours to schools across the state to stand in solidarity with students, teachers and school administrators who support the bill and other gun reform.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "It is our responsibility to protect our communities, our schools, and to keep all of New Yorkers safe from gun violence. Following years of inaction on common-sense gun safety legislation, the State Senate passed major gun safety bills, including extreme risk protection orders.”
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "Our thoughts and prayers after a tragedy are not enough. The Assembly Majority has a long history of fighting for common-sense reforms to prevent gun violence, and I am proud we were able to work with our Senate colleagues and finally make this and other reforms the law of the land. I know we will continue working together to ensure we have the strongest and smartest laws to address the root causes of gun violence, and make New York a safer place for everyone."