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New York "Red Flag" Gun Laws Allow Seizure Of Weapons If Owner Is Deemed Dangerous

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The New York State "Red Flag" gun laws allow police, teachers, family, and friends to file a petition to take away guns from individuals who are believed to pose a threat to themselves or others. The legislation, formally called Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO), went into effect at the end of August, making New York the 17th state to pass this type of preventative gun control. 

Broome County Sheriff David Harder explains the process would require a petition to be filed with the Supreme Court. Anyone can do this, not just law enforcement. A judge then decides whether or not to issue a temporary order to seize guns and to prevent the person from purchasing firearms. Harder says this can happen the same day as the petition is filed, allowing police to act quickly.

"You've seen the killings in the United States... something is there, so if we get notified ahead of time, we can prevent that," says Harder.

After the temporary seizure order, a hearing takes place where both the petitioner and the gun owner are heard by the judge. The hearing happens three to six days after the initial petition. At that time, the judge decides whether to lift the temporary ban or to keep it in effect for up to a year. 

Because there is a hearing process involved, Harder says he does not believe this law violates any 2nd amendment rights. 

"Because it's going to go in front of a judge, you're going to hear what's going on and the hearings aren't put off for months or anything," says Harder.

The Broome County Sheriff's Department has yet to have a case with one of these petitions, but state police in Endwell tell Fox 40 they have filed one.