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politics

Area Officials Support Bill To Remove Guns From Troubled Students' Homes

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. in White Plains on Tuesday to promote gun safety. Photo Credit: Contributed
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in White Plains to promote gun safety. Photo Credit: Contributed
June 5, 2018 - Manhattan
June 5, 2018 - Manhattan Video Credit: NYGovCuomo

Elected officials continue to call on New York State to enact a Red Flag Gun Protection bill that would make it the first state in the nation to allow teachers and school administrators to prevent potential school shootings by pursuing court intervention.

Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo began his push of an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” bill, which would permit teachers and school administrators to have the power to petition a judge to remove guns from the homes of students deemed troublesome. Family members and law enforcement agencies would also be able to approach the court about the removal of guns from homes.

On Tuesday, Cuomo was in Westchester to continue his lobbying in support of the bill, where he was joined by Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. and local activists at White Plains High School to show his support of the bill.

Cuomo said the law would “prevent individuals determined by a court to be likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to themselves or others from purchasing, possessing, or attempting to purchase or possess any type of firearm, including handguns, rifles, or shotguns.”

Latimer, who co-hosted the event, said that it's important for those closest to potentially troubled youths to have the possibility to petition the courts if they see "concerning behavior."

"Enough is enough. We have to empower teachers, school officials, family members and police officers – those who have close contact to the young people- to raise a red flag if they see concerning behavior," he said. "This is common sense. We need to take steps to protect others and our schools and we need to do it now.”

Under current state law, firearms may be removed from a person subject to a temporary order of protection issued by a criminal or family court, but a court can only issue such an order in connection with a criminal or family offense proceeding.

No law currently exists in New York State that enables a court to issue an order to temporarily seize firearms from a person who is believed to pose a severe threat of harm to himself, herself, or others unless that person has also been accused of a crime or family offense.

”We commend Governor Cuomo for joining us in calling on the legislature to enact the Extreme Risk Protection Order law immediately. The safety of our residents is our first concern,” Scarpino said. “Often it is families and teachers who see the first red flags that someone is in crisis and may be a danger to others and themselves. Let’s not wait until a tragedy happens here in Westchester to act. New York State needs a Red Flag law now before we lose another life.”

According to Scarpino, “this ERPO bill would build on New York's strongest in the nation gun laws and prior legislative efforts, and, if passed, would make New York the first in the United States to empower its teachers and school administrators to prevent school shootings by pursuing court intervention.

“With ERPO as a legal tool to work with, we will take one more step in fulfilling our mission to creating a safer and healthier community.”

"By expanding background checks and extreme risk protection orders, New York is once again demonstrating the leadership we need to address our nationwide epidemic of gun violence," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul stated. "These bold actions take the next step forward and address the continued threat of gun violence. No person should ever fear going to school, or a concert, or a house of worship. While Washington refuses to act to save lives, New York will lead the way to enact commonsense reforms to prevent senseless tragedy."

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