Assemblyman Thiele: Red Flag Law Goes Into Effect

August 30, 2019

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF, REF - Sag Harbor) announced that legislation he helped pass to prevent and reduce gun violence in New York, known as the “Red Flag” Law, went into effect earlier this week on August 24, 2019. This new law allows a court to issue an order, known as an extreme risk protection order (ERPO), prohibiting a person who is determined to be a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm for up to one year (A.2689). The petitioner, who could be a family member, school administrator or law enforcement officer, would be required to file a sworn application describing the circumstances and justification for the request. Following an initial hearing, the court may grant a temporary order if there is reasonable cause to believe the individual is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to themselves or others. At a subsequent hearing, the court may issue a final order which would last for one year.

Many individuals who carry out gun violence exhibit red flag behaviors. Earlier this year, an attack on the upstate community Islamberg was thwarted when a high school student overheard a classmate in the lunchroom make an alarming remark.[1] Too often, though, red flags end in tragedy, noted Assemblyman Thiele. Authorities were warned the Parkland shooter was amassing weapons with the intent to attack a school before he killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last year.[2] An extreme risk protection order would help ensure warning signs are taken seriously and real action is taken when someone poses a serious threat.

This legislation was originally passed as part of a package to help keep guns out of the wrong hands, which also included measures to ban bump stocks and strictly limit guns on school grounds, and was signed into law by the Governor in February.

“When will we reach our breaking point? When does one more life lost become one too many?” Assemblyman Thiele asked. “We’re living in a time in which places we should be able to find refuge and joy – schools, movie theaters, places of worship – are no longer safe. We can’t pretend gun violence is inevitable and there’s nothing that can be done. There are steps we can take. And we’re taking them.”

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough,” Assemblyman Thiele said. “From mass shootings to gun violence on our streets, it’s not going to stop unless we keep guns away from those who have no business having them. It is common sense gun safety, and our kids’ futures depend on it.”