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Governor kicks off education campaign on new Red Flag Law

Posted 19 September 2019 at 8:28 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has launched a statewide education campaign on New York’s new Red Flag gun safety law.

The Governor on Wednesday at Farmingdale State College hosted the first of three conferences to help teachers, school administrators and parent representatives understand the new law and how to use it to keep schools safe.

The law, part of the nation’s strongest gun laws, establishes a new civil procedure that allows a concerned family member, school official or member of law enforcement to obtain a court order – known as an Extreme Risk Protection Order – to remove and keep guns away from individuals who pose a serious risk of harm to themselves or others.

This court order specifically prohibits a person from purchasing or possessing a firearm, rifle or shotgun while the order is in effect. The new law became effective August 24, 2019. Additional conferences are planned for later this fall in Manhattan and Albany.

The Governor also launched a call center and a new website offering information and links to step-by-step instructions about how to apply for an Extreme Risk Protection Order. The call center will be staffed by individuals trained to answer inquiries from family members, police and educators. These staff members will have access to extensive resources and contact information for local law enforcement, school officials, the court system, and mental health agencies to ensure callers are referred to the appropriate services. The call center, which is now open, can be reached at 877-NYS-0101 and will be operated Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“This common-sense gun safety measure can save lives and today is about understanding how to use it,” Governor Cuomo said. “When we get to a point as a society where we are designing schools in anticipation of an active shooter scenario, something is seriously wrong. Here in New York we have passed the strongest gun protection laws in the nation to keep people safe, and they work. With the Red Flag law, we are empowering educators and parents who believe an individual may be dangerous to themselves or others to take action for the safety of their community.”

Extreme Risk Protection Order

An Extreme Risk Protection Order, or ERPO, may only be issued by the Supreme Court of the county where the subject lives upon the sworn application of a police officer, district attorney, family or household member, or principal or another qualified school official designated by the principal.

Warning Signs

Some of the following characteristics may indicate an individual’s near term risk for violent behavior against oneself or others:

• Making threats of violence

• Taking steps towards enabling violent threats

• A history of perpetrating violence

• Bringing a weapon to school

• Recent intensification of anger and impulsiveness

Taking Action

If educators or parents fear a child poses an immediate risk to themselves or others, they should:

• Involve law enforcement. While statute allows school officials to apply directly to the court for an ERPO, schools should contact local law enforcement with relevant information.

• Take immediate measures to protect yourself or others. In the case of a threat of violence, call 911.

• Alert authorities to notify any intended target of violence.

• Consult with school authorities or call law enforcement to determine if an ERPO is appropriate.

The Application

The ERPO application and all supporting documents are available on the Office of Court Administration’s (OCA) website (click here):

The application must include facts supporting the request for an ERPO. The legal standard the court will apply is probable cause.

Possible facts to check off on the application include:

• Threats or acts of violence

• Violations or alleged violations of an order of protection

• Pending charge or conviction for an offense involving the use of a weapon

• Reckless use or display of a gun

• Any history of violating an ERPO

• Recent or ongoing substance abuse  (within 6 months)

• Recent acquisition of a gun, ammunition or deadly weapon (within 6 months).

Issuance of an ERPO

• A temporary ERPO may be issued immediately upon the submission of an application, if the court determines there is probable cause to believe the person is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to anyone.

• If the court issues a temporary ERPO, it must hold a hearing within 3-6 business days to determine whether to issue a final ERPO.

• Final ERPOs are effective for up to 1 year, after which they may be renewed

• Whenever an ERPO is issued (temporary or final), the court must suspend any firearm license issued to the subject of an ERPO.

• The issuing court may order police to search for guns in the subjects possession, including those located within a residence.

Coordination and Safeguards

• The issuing court must notify and produce copies of the ERPO to the New York State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), local law enforcement, and local firearm licensing officers.

• DCJS is required to immediately report the issuance of ERPO to the FBI for entry into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). This will prevent respondent from purchasing guns while the order is in effect.

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