'Red Flag Law' getting mixed reviews

August 26, 2019 07:01 PM

Monday marked three days since the "Red Flag Law" went into effect. It allows certain officials to file a petition to have firearms taken away from someone believed to be unfit to have them.

The law allows a police officer, school official or a family or household member to report someone who owns guns and is believed to be a danger to themselves or others.


They would need to file an Extreme Risk Protection Order or ERPO in Supreme Court. A judge will typically decide whether or not to revoke an individual's firearms on the same day the order is filed. Then a hearing is scheduled and both parties are allowed to testify.

The judge could decide there isn't enough evidence to support an ERPO and it would be dismissed. The judge could also issue a final ERPO, meaning the individual would not have access to their firearms for up to a year. The individual has the right to file an application to amend or vacate the order if their circumstances change.

The original petitioner can also ask for an ERPO extension. If the judge sees fit, they can extend it up to one year.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple Sr. said it's too early to tell if the measure will actually help reduce gun violence.

"I'm not going to say that this won't work, my biggest fear though is people using this a lot for illegitimate purposes," Apple said. "I'm very cognizant of the Second Amendment and people's constitutional rights but I'm also want to make sure that people are safe."

Apple said he's heard positive feedback from other states that have passed similar measures, but he said it's not an end all, save all measure.

"Bad people will do bad things and if a bad person is hell-bent on hurting people they're going to do it right?" Apple said. "Maybe it's not with a gun, so maybe it's with a truck or a knife or a hammer or a pressure cooker, whatever. We've seen a lot of bizarre crazy actions from cowards over the last several years."

Apple said he doesn't think his department will get many calls about "red flags." Though he said it may help law enforcement get someone onto a watch list that they could've missed otherwise.

NewsChannel 13 also reached out to the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association for a comment, but no one was available on Monday.


Emily Burkhard

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