Liberty Blog

NY Red Flag Law & Its Process

September 3, 2019

 

New York State Red Flag Law took effect on 8/24/19. This law also known as an Extreme Risk Protection Order Law, ERPOS, implements a way to take guns away from people who are likely to hurt themselves and/or others and from purchasing any kind of firearm.

 

Under the New York's ERPO, police, school administrators, district attorneys, family members or household members can request a hearing with a judge to present present their evidence. The judge can to issue an order to seize firearms from a person Red Flagged in the hearing. 

 

New York is among at least 17 states that has adapted some form of a Red Flag law. 

 

A Republican and proponent of ERPOs, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick describes the process in the following manner. 

 

If someone suspects that a person who owns a gun or has access to guns is a threat to themselves or others they should contact their local police agency. The district attorney’s office will then request extreme risk protection order.

 

In most cases, an assistant district attorney will file the ERPO petition in state supreme court. The petition will go before a judge where an assistant district attorney will present evidence and testimony as to why the order should be issued.

 

At this point, the gun owner or person in question is not informed of the petition and they are not part of the hearing, he said.

 

The judge will hear the testimony and has the ability to grant a temporary protection order to seize the person’s guns and prevent them from buying new guns.

 

A hearing will be held between three to six days after the seizure order. The hearing allows the person in question and the petitioner to present evidence to the judge. The judge then has the ability to issue a final protection order.

 

There are time limits on the length of an ERPO, and the order may be renewed under certain circumstances, he said.

 

Fitzpatrick said, this is not a slow process. The ERPO petition will be handled with urgency.

 

Fitzpatrick said he’s aware that some people are panicking about the law because they believe it will take away their constitutional rights.

 

“Nothing can be further from the truth, this law is long overdue,” he said.

 

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