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NRA Rallies Supporters To Fight Cuomo Proposal On Troubled Students

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in White Plains to promote gun safety this week.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in White Plains to promote gun safety this week. Photo Credit: Contributed

With elected officials pushing on New York State lawmakers to enact a Red Flag Gun Protection bill allowing educators to prevent potential school shootings by pursuing court intervention, the National Rifle Associate is pushing back.

Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo began his push of an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” bill, which would permit teachers and school administrators to have the power to petition a judge to remove guns from the homes of students deemed troublesome. Family members and law enforcement agencies would also be able to approach the court about the removal of guns from homes.

On Tuesday, the NRA called the proposed bill “troubling,” stating that it contains “a very low burden of proof, probable cause.” In response, they have started encouraging New Yorkers to urge their senators to oppose the bill.

“When a person petitions to have the order lifted the burden of proof is improperly reversed so that the respondent is now forced to prove by ‘clear and convincing’ evidence that the order should be lifted.  This type of order is rife for abuse. 

“Teachers with differing political opinions or personal differences could initiate these court proceedings with little proof that an actual threat exists.  It also creates serious Fourth Amendment infringements whereby parents and legal guardians could be forced to surrender their guns.  The bill does nothing to punish those who make false allegations.”

Cuomo claims the law would “prevent individuals determined by a court to be likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to themselves or others from purchasing, possessing, or attempting to purchase or possess any type of firearm, including handguns, rifles, or shotguns.”

In a post on their website, the NRA claims that “the bill will do nothing to improve school and public safety,” as other threats exist.

“It is focused entirely on firearms to the exclusion of other weapons including knives, automobiles, improvised explosives or other weapons.  If a person is truly a threat the person should be arrested or involuntarily committed and there are processes under current law that would allow for that through normal legal channels.  This bill is nothing more than anti-gun Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushing his extreme political agenda and continuing to wage war on law-abiding New York gun owners.”

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan scolded Cuomo, stating that the governor is "being driven by two things: his extraordinary disdain for anyone who does not agree with him,  especially the Legislation and Cynthia Nixon. He has put politics ahead of the public interest, and made it virtually impossible to achieve meaningful progress for the people of the state."

Under current state law, firearms may be removed from a person subject to a temporary order of protection issued by a criminal or family court, but a court can only issue such an order in connection with a criminal or family offense proceeding.

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 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.

"Enough is enough. We have to empower teachers, school officials, family members and police officers – those who have close contact to the young people- to raise a red flag if they see concerning behavior," Westchester County Executive George Latimer said at an event supporting the bill in White Plains this week. "This is common sense. We need to take steps to protect others and our schools and we need to do it now.”

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