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Cuomo Signs Red Flag Gun Measure

Gov. Andrew Cuomo with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Manhattan Monday.
Flickr: GovernorAndrewCuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Manhattan Monday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new anti-gun violence measure into law Monday, at a ceremony attended by survivors of gun violence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The measure, approved by the Democratic-led Senate and Assembly earlier this month, creates what’s known as an “extreme risk” protection order. It permits law enforcement, family members and school officials to go to court to seek the confiscation of the guns in the home of an individual that is determined to be a potential risk to themselves or to others.

Cuomo, spoke at a ceremony in Manhattan, with survivors of gun violence, and relatives of victims who died in mass shootings. He said the legislation, also known as the “red flag” bill, is a sensible provision.

“So when the teacher sees there is a problem or a family member sees there is a problem, and believes that a person could be a danger to themselves or others they can go to a judge. And say, 'Judge, please do an evaluation,’” Cuomo said. “It is common sense. If you believe that was going to happen, why would you sit back and do nothing?”

Linda Beigel Schulman is a Long Island native whose son, Scott, a teacher, was among 17 killed in the February 14, 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“Parkland would have never happened and my son would still be alive,” Schulman said. “If Parkland had the red flag law on Februarys 13, 2018." 

Speaker Pelosi, playing off on President Donald Trump’s recent declaration of a national emergency over southern border immigration, says the epidemic of gun violence in the nation is dire.

“Mr. President, if you want to talk about emergencies, this is an emergency.” Pelosi said. “This gun violence issue is a national health epidemic.”

Pelosi says the Democratic-led U.S. House will later this week pass a national version of the “extreme risk” protection measure and a bill to fund gun violence research through the Centers for Disease Control.  It is expected to stall in the Republican-led U.S. Senate.  

Several other gun control measures were also approved by the New York Senate and Assembly. They include extending the waiting period for background checks for gun purchases to 30 days, if the initial data search raises questions about the buyer.  

A measure to outlaw the possession and sale of bump stocks was also approved. The device, which turns a semi-automatic weapon into essentially a machine gun, was used in the October 2017 Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 and injured 851.

The use of bump stocks is already illegal in New York.

A third bill funds gun buyback programs.

Cuomo is expected to sign the rest of the bills in the coming weeks.  

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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