Cuomo vows to pass three new gun control measures by April

Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul hold a press event at a high school in Plainview, Nassau County to promote the “Red Flag” Gun Protection Bill, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order Bill. The proposed law would prevent a person considered by the court to be a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing any type of firearm. The governor has made it a priority for the coming session.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has released more details about three new gun control measures he vowed to pass in the first 100 days of the new session.

The most controversial of the proposals — the Red Flag Bill, also known as the extreme risk protection order bill — would prevent individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing any kind of firearm.

The Red Flag Bill would enable courts 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.

In the Parkland, Florida school shooting, the shooter was reported by multiple sources to be disturbed and dangerous, yet was allowed to purchase and possess firearms. Gov. Cuomo and other proponents of the bill say more than half of all perpetrators of mass shootings exhibit warning signs before the shooting, and an extreme risk protection order like the one being proposed in New York would have prevented many of these incidents.

Cuomo says the “red flag” law would include procedural safeguards to ensure that no firearm is taken away without due process, but Second Amendment advocates and gun owners rights groups aren’t convinced.

They say creating a new legal mechanism for police to confiscate guns from a person’s home is a slippery slope that can lead to civil rights violations down the road. They question the criteria that will be used to determine whether a person is a danger to themselves and others.

Cuomo is also proposing legislation to ban “bump stocks” that enable semi-automatic weapons to fire almost as fast as automatic weapons.

The 2017 Las Vegas shooter used this technology to kill 58 people in a matter of minutes. Gun control advocates say bump stocks serve no legitimate purposes for hunters or sportsmen and only cause unpredictable and accelerated gun fire.

The governor says there is no reason to allow for their continued sale in New York state.

A third proposal would extend the waiting period to purchase a gun for those who do not get an immediate determination of eligibility during their background check.

Cuomo previously advanced legislation to establish a ten-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.

The governor and other gun control advocates say 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.

More details about these proposed laws are expected to be unveiled Tuesday when Cuomo delivers a combined Executive Budget and State of the State Address in Albany.