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Governor will push ‘Red Flag Bill’ and other legislation to combat gun violence

Posted 10 January 2019 at 3:16 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today vowed passage of legislation in the first 100 days of the new legislative session to combat gun violence and make New York’s nation-leading gun laws even stronger.

First, the Governor vowed to pass the Red Flag Bill, also known as the extreme risk protection order bill, which would prevent 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, if passed, would make New York the first in the United States to empower its teachers and school administrators to prevent school shootings by pursuing court intervention. In addition, the Governor will push to ban bump stocks and extend the background check waiting period for purchasing guns from three to ten days.

“The scourge of gun violence in our nation is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and we are not going to wait for the federal government to act on passing gun safety legislation,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York already has the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, and we are taking additional steps to make our laws even stronger and keep our communities, and our schools, safe. Together, we will pass this common sense legislation and send a clear message to Washington that gun violence has no place in our state or nation.”

Red Flag Bill

No law currently exists in New York State 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 law would provide 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.

Governor 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 last June. 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 common sense gun reform.

Ban Bump Stocks

The 2017 Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 people demonstrated the deadly consequences of bump stocks, which can be attached to semi-automatic weapons to simulate machine gunfire. Bump stocks serve no legitimate purposes for hunters or sportsmen and only cause unpredictable and accelerated gun fire. There is no reason to allow for their continued sale in New York State.

Extending the Background Check Waiting Period

Governor Cuomo previously advanced legislation to establish a 10-day waiting period for individuals who are not immediately approved to purchase a firearm through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Current federal law requires gun dealers to conduct the NICS background check on a potential purchaser prior to selling a firearm, which immediately provides the dealer with one of three possible notifications: “proceed”, “denied”, or “delayed”.

In the case of a “delayed” response, the dealer must wait three days before the sale is eligible to go through, even though the FBI continues to investigate these individuals past the three-day timeframe. Oftentimes, by the time it has been determined that the potential purchaser was, in fact, ineligible, the individual has already been sold the firearm upon completion of the three-day waiting period. Extending the waiting period to ten days would allow sufficient time to complete the background check and builds on legislative efforts to ensure that only those eligible to purchase and own a firearm are able to do so.

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