Breaking News: “Red Flag” Bill Signed Into Law in New York

At the end of January, the New York legislature passed a package of gun control laws ranging from a ban on bump stocks to a “red flag” law that would allow educators, law enforcement, or family members to petition a judge to confiscate an individual’s firearms if there is some measure of evidence that the individual is a threat to themselves and/or others (see our previous email about the New York laws, and read more about our overview of Red Flag laws here).

As expected, Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, has begun signing these bills into law, and today, he signed the “red flag” bill. Under the law, school officials, family members, police officers, and district attorneys can petition a judge for a “temporary extreme risk protection order” against an individual. If the order is approved by the judge, the individual would be temporarily banned from buying, possessing or attempting to buy any firearms. The law provides that the order is only to be granted if the judge finds that there is “probable cause” that the individual in question is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to himself or others.

This initial ban would last up to six days. Within that time, a hearing would have to be held to either vacate the temporary order or extend the length of the order up to one year. At the hearing, the petitioner (the person who sought the order in the first place) must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent (the target of the order) is a danger to himself or others for the order to be extended.

Governor Cuomo, joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, touted the bill as a “first of its kind.” Despite the fact that several states and the District of Columbia have already enacted “red flag” laws, the New York law appears to be the first that empowers school officials to submit a petition for a temporary extreme risk protection order.

Opponents of the law cite concerns for the due process rights of firearm owners, as the subject of such an order has no opportunity to contest the petition until after the initial confiscation. Legal challenges to the law are certain to come, and when that happens, you will hear about it from the team here at Renzulli Law Firm as we continue to offer the “Renzulli Run Down.”