New York’s legislature sent a firearms regulation bill to Governor Cuomo earlier this week.
The New York State Legislature approved SB 2451 along party lines on January 29. According to the New York State Senate website, the bill “establishes extreme risk protection orders as a court-issued order of protection prohibiting a person from purchasing, possessing or attempting to purchase or possess a firearm, rifle or shotgun.”
The bill, introduced by Sen. Brian Kavanagh (D-District 26), authorizes law enforcement officers, family members, and certain school officials to ask a court to issue an order restricting a person deemed likely to harm themselves or others from accessing firearms.
Kavanagh said in a statement, “Until now, this bill, which we have been working to pass for several years, has been blocked by Senate Republicans.”
Republicans opposed to the bill, such as Sen. Pamela Helming (R-District 54) said it would “infringe upon the rights of law-abiding citizens.” Assm. William Barclay (R-District 120) said the bill was passed too quickly without public input or a “willingness to accept reasonable input from people who want to ensure that New Yorkers are safe but also worry about the infringement on people’s Second Amendment rights.”
Prior to the 2018 elections, New York had a divided government. Democrats held the governor’s office and the state House while Republicans controlled the State Senate. The Democratic Party gained a trifecta in 2018 by taking control of the State Senate. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.
Extreme risk protection orders, also known as red flag laws, gun violence restraining orders, or ERPOs, authorize family members, household members, and law enforcement officers to petition a court to restrict an individual’s access to firearms. If the court finds that the person presents a danger to him- or herself or others, the person must surrender his or her firearms to law enforcement officials and is prohibited from buying, selling, or possessing firearms for a certain amount of time.
As of January 2019, 13 states—California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington—had enacted laws authorizing courts to issue extreme risk protection orders.