New York reported a major spike in use of red flag law orders seeking to temporarily bar potentially dangerous people from possessing firearms in the wake of the Buffalo shooting in May, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday.
A total of 832 temporary and final red flag law filings, officially called extreme risk protection orders, have been issued in New York since May, compared to the 1,424 issued from August 2019 to April 2022, according to the governor's office.
The increased use of the gun-control law in New York followed a series of measures taken by Hochul and lawmakers aimed at curbing the rising gun violence plaguing many communities across the state this year.
On May 18, four days after the Buffalo shooting, Hochul issued an executive order directing the State Police to apply for an extreme risk protection order when there is probable cause that someone posed a danger to themselves or others. On July 6, a new state law signed by the governor took effect, expanding that order to all law enforcement agencies and district attorneys.
The state law allows judges to issue an extreme risk protection order that temporarily prevents people who pose a danger to themselves or others from buying or possessing firearms.
Originally, police, district attorneys, school officials or a member of the person's household could file a request for the order. And on July 6, a new state law added mental health practitioners to the list of people eligible to file the orders.
"In the wake of the horrific shooting in my hometown of Buffalo, we took quick and decisive action to get illegal guns off our streets and away from individuals who would use them to harm themselves or others," Hochul said in a statement.
"Now, we see our efforts are working, thanks to the heroic efforts of our partners in law enforcement who are on the front lines in the fight to protect public safety and end the scourge of gun violence," she added.
State Police have filed 184 red flag applications since Hochul signed the initial executive order on May 18, a more than 93% increase over the 95 orders filed by State Police in all of 2021, the governor's office noted.
Further, Suffolk County has been a leader in utilizing extreme risk protection orders since the red flag Law was enacted in August of 2019. Since the week of May 16, the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office has served 114 protection orders, a more than 75% increase compared with all of 2021, the governor's office reported.
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State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen also urged New Yorkers "to remain observant of suspicious activities in their schools or communities."
"By reporting relevant information, we can all help prevent tragedies from occurring," Bruen said in a statement.
New York also launched a partnership between the state Division of Criminal Justice Services and Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit advocacy group, to offer a free red flag law training webinar for law enforcement, Hochul noted. The training, which has been offered to all law enforcement agencies in New York will be held on August 24, and will cover identifying extreme risk behavior, how to file, execute, and extend an extreme risk protection order.
This article originally appeared on New York State Team: Red flag law use in NY spikes