Assemblymember Steck: ‘Red Flag’ Legislation Strengthens Gun Safety Measures

Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced that he helped pass legislation to create an “extreme risk protection order” to prohibit individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm (A.11148).

“School shootings are becoming an all-too-common occurrence in our country, yet little has been done to prevent these tragic events from continuing to occur,” Steck said. “We can’t allow ourselves to become desensitized to gun violence. By allowing school officials, family members and law enforcement to petition for these protection orders, we’re taking a critical step in ensuring the safety of our students and teachers.”

The legislation builds on a previous version passed by the Assembly in March, adding school officials to the list of individuals who can petition for an order. In many recent school shootings, the perpetrator exhibited clear warning signs, but there was no procedure in place to ensure they couldn’t access a firearm, Steck noted.

The legislation gives courts the ability to issue a restraining order, prohibiting an at-risk individual deemed a risk to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm for up to one year. A family member, school official or law enforcement officer would be required to file a sworn application describing the circumstances and justification for the request. Following a hearing, the court could grant the order if there is reasonable cause to believe the individual in question is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to themselves or others.

Earlier this year, Steck helped pass a series of bills to curb gun violence, including the Domestic Violence Escalation Prevention Act, which prohibits individuals convicted of a domestic violence crime from purchasing or possessing a firearm (Ch. 60 of 2018).