New York state’s “Red Flag Law” took effect Saturday allowing for increased gun control in the state and supplementing other gun control measures approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
What We Know:
- The Red Flag Law, also known as the extreme risk protection order, allows New York law enforcement officials, school officials or family members to seize the firearms of people considered to be a threat with the permission of the courts. Cuomo signed the bill into law in February and the state Legislature passed it in January. Under the legislation, guns are first taken away while a trial is undergone to determine whether the individual in question is a danger. This confiscation can be extended for up to one year.
- This legislation comes in the first wave of New York gun control laws since the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act was passed in 2013. Cuomo has also pushed at least eight bills to ban dangerous people from having guns, disallow school districts to arm teachers and ban bump stocks, or a gun attachment used to make firing a rifle easier and faster. The Democrat & Chronicle wrote that none of the following legislation was as effective of the SAFE Act, and mostly served to spark a state battle over gun control laws.
- The SAFE Act of 2013 made the penalty for possession of illegal guns more intense and regulating firearms with universal background checks on gun purchases. But the SAFE Act was branded as a win for law-abiding gun owners who might also support safer gun safety laws. “For hunters, sportsmen, and law abiding gun owners, this new law preserves and protects your right to buy, sell, keep or use your guns,” Cuomo said.
- At least 17 states in the U.S. have red flag gun laws including Florida, New York and California; California’s red flag law is the most comprehensive. It was created in response to the 2014 shooting in Santa Barbara that left six people dead and set the precedent for family members to report.
- Connecticut was the first state to create a red flag gun law in 1999 and has increased in its usage every since. This trend has been reported in many states with these laws; though they cannot say whether shootings were actually prevented after the law was passed, reports of dangerous individuals have increased.
Cuomo’s move comes in a wave of increased public caution following many mass shootings this year.