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NY Schools First To Have 'Red Flag' Power On Guns: Here's What It Means

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the Red Flag law
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the Red Flag law Photo Credit: Contributed

Another first for the Empire State.

Schools statewide in New York began the academic year this month with a new tool to help prevent student suicides or violence.

Approximately one-third of states have “red flag” laws, which allow courts to temporarily take weapons from people who may be a danger to themselves or others.

Earlier this year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to follow suit. Now, New York has become the first to implement legislation that will allow schools, as well as police and family members, to petition courts to remove firearms from potentially dangerous people.

According to Cuomo, “this legislation builds on New York's strongest in the nation gun laws and makes New York the first in the United States to empower its teachers and school administrators to prevent school shootings by pursuing court intervention.”

"The United States loses more people to gun deaths than most developed nations. The first year of President Trump's administration, we lost 40,000 people to gun deaths - the highest number in 50 years,” the governor stated. “New York led the way by passing the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, but more must be done to end this carnage.

Under the new law, a court can issue an order to temporarily seize weapons from a person who shows red flags such as 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.

Cuomo noted that no other state in the nation currently empowers its teachers and school administrators to prevent school shootings by pursuing court intervention.

“Today New York is proud to pass the first-in-the-nation Red Flag Bill that empowers school teachers to do something when they believe something bad is going to happen,” he said. “We are empowering teachers not by giving them guns like the President wants - but by arming and empowering them with the law, so when a teacher or family member sees there is a problem, they can go to a judge and get a court-ordered evaluation. The Red Flag Bill will save lives and doesn't infringe on anybody's rights and it is common sense.”

Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr., said that “ It will help us make Westchester safer and more secure. Families, community members, school personnel and law enforcement can now make a case for the courts to imposed Extreme Risk Protection Orders, to remove weapons temporarily from a person in crisis. It is an important tool in preventing situations of mass violence in schools, workplaces, houses of worship or public spaces, and in our homes where suicide and domestic violence become deadly when a gun is involved.”

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