House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday to sign the Red Flag Bill, the latest in New York State gun control laws. The new law — 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.
The legislation was signed into law on Monday after the state Legislature passed it last month.
Twelve other states have passed similar legislation in attempts to limit gun violence and the mass shootings that have become commonplace in recent years. Among these states are Connecticut and Florida, both of which were home to school shootings. Cuomo cited the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. several times during the press conference for the signing of the legislation.
“This is a very important day for the entire state of New York, and for my family it is especially personal,” said Linda Schulman, whose son Scott Beigel was a teacher and coach at Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of the Parkland shooting in February of last year. “I am one of the far too many mothers who have faced the inexplicably tragedy of losing a child in a school shooting.”
The new law will allow authorities and household members to seek court orders to prohibit individuals who display warning signs of dangerous behavior, or who may pose a threat to themselves or others, from purchasing or possessing a gun for up to one year.
According to the bill (S.2451/A.2689) police, family or household members, school administrators and teachers are amongst those who can petition the court to issue this order of protection. The party seeking the order of protection must provide a judge with “clear and convincing evidence that the petitioner is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to himself, herself, or others.”
Once issued by a judge, this order would require the individual in question to relinquish their firearms to law enforcement. The owner of the firearms may appeal the court’s decision through the state’s appeals court.
Cuomo believes that this is the next step in gun control after the passage of the SAFE Act that banned assault weapons and high capacity magazines. While the passage of the Red Flag law in New York state is a good start, Cuomo stated that it must be done on a national level, “It has to be done federally. This is a uniquely United States problem. We lose more people to gun deaths than most developed nations.”
Rather than place guns in the hands of teachers, as suggested by President Trump, New York lawmakers have now given teachers the chance to avoid gun violence preemptively. While other states have passed laws similar to the Red Flag Bill, New York is the first among them that gives teachers the ability to petition courts for an order of extreme risk protection.
Speaker Pelosi backed Cuomo in his fight for federal gun control, while additionally calling out President Trump on the importance of the gun violence issue that America faces. Pelosi stated, “Mr. President, if you want to talk about emergencies, this is an emergency.”