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Expansion of Red Flag law has led to more gun seizures in New York

May 08, 2023 1:03 pm

Brendan J. Lyons reports in the Times Union that last year's expansion of New York's so-called "Red Flag" law has caused a major increase in the number of firearms being seized by police from individuals found to be “likely” at risk of harm to themselves or others. Last year Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order issued expanding the 2019 law, and mandated troopers file court applications for “extreme risk protection orders” whenever they encounter a person who is believed to be a danger and in possession of a firearm. So, while in 2020, judges issued just 255 protection orders against people across New York, in the first four months of this year, the number of individuals subjected to emergency or temporary risk protection orders is over 2,120. That has led to many gun seizures too. Beau Duffy, a State Police spokesperson, said, “In some troops storage for seized guns was running short, but we have managed it by reconfiguring storage spaces to accommodate for the increased seizures.” Some attorneys are arguing that the expansion of the Red Flag law is unfair, because the state Mental Health Law requires a physician to determine whether a person presents a “likelihood to result in serious harm,” while the Red Flag Law has that decision made by police officers and prosecutors. Courts will ultimately decide that question. The governor’s executive order came days after a mass shooting in Buffalo last year in which 10 Black people were killed by an 18-year-old white man in what police said was a racially motivated attack. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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