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United States

Red Flag Law Preventing Potential Gun Violence Enacted

August 26, 2019
NEW YORK – Legislators, District Attorneys, schools attorneys, doctors and gun violence prevention advocates announced a new extreme risk protection order law (AKA “Red Flag” Law) which went into effect on August 24.
In a press release, Senators Brian Kavanagh and Brad Hoylman together with Assemblymember Jo Anne Simone (the authors of New York’s Red Flag Law), announced that after years of advocacy, the law will finally go into effect. The law would give New Yorkers an important new way to prevent gun violence when there’s evidence that someone is likely to harm themselves or others.
The new law creates a new type of court issued order of protection that temporarily prohibits individuals from purchasing or possessing funs if a family or household member, District Attorney, law enforcement officer, or school administrator petitions a court and the court finds that an individual is likely to engage in conduct that would harm themselves or others. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have adopted these types of laws, and there is growing evidence that they can be effective at preventing suicides, mass shootings, and other instances of gun violence.
According to the press release, experience in other jurisdictions suggests that effective implementation of Red Flag laws depends substantially on the readiness of the courts and the officials who are authorized to seek the orders, as well as public awareness. The officials at the press conference discussed the preparations of the courts in New York and their respective agencies and organizations.
Senator Kavanagh also announced the creation of a task force that will include the Office of Court Administration, representatives of the State’s executive and legislative branches, the DAs, the school attorneys, gun violence prevention experts, and those engaged in public awareness efforts in New York, all of whom will work together to share best practices, ensure the law is properly implemented, and monitor the results.
In response to the new law and its implementation, Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said: “When law enforcement, mental health professionals or families know that a gun owner poses a threat to themselves or others, this law will provide a lifesaving tool to restrict gun access. Thanks to Senator Kavanagh and Assemblymember Simon, we now have a legal mechanism to intervene before tragedy strikes. Extreme Risk Protection Orders will save lives and allow law enforcement to remove firearms from people who may hurt themselves or others. New York has shown great leadership in the battle against gun violence and I encourage lawmakers around the country to implement this life-saving law in your state.”
For more information on the Red Flag law in New York, and how to ask for a court order, please visit www.nycourts.gov/CourtHelp/Safety/extremeRisk.shtml.

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