New York

How guns are taken away under New York’s ‘red flag’ law.

Someone applying for a red flag order must state “specific facts and circumstances” that justify it. The application form also includes check-boxes for categories of concerning behavior, including threats or use of physical force, violation of an existing order of protection, reckless use or brandishing of a gun and substance abuse. It also includes space to list the firearms owned by the person who is the subject of the application.

After an application is filed, a judge holds a hearing at which both sides can be heard. If a judge grants the order, the person who is the subject of the order must surrender all guns and may not buy others for as long as a year. The order can be renewed upon a showing that the person “continues to be likely to engage” in dangerous conduct.

In Mr. Gendron’s home county, Broome, there have been 11 red flag orders, or about one for every 18,000 residents. The court system does not track the number of applications that were denied.

The law enforcement official who had been briefed on the school project said that in New York, hundreds of school threats are called in each year, and that in each case, authorities interview students and parents to determine whether students have access to guns. The authorities then try to make a reasoned call on what action to take.

The suspect wrote in a document he posted online that he obtained a shotgun and a bolt-action rifle in 2020. Sometime in the past few months, he bought the Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle that police say he used in the shooting at a store in Endicott, N.Y., 20 miles from his home in Conklin, according to the owner.

Nineteen states have enacted such laws, including Virginia and New Mexico as recently as 2020. Because almost all have been enacted within the past 10 years, there is limited research on their effectiveness.

Josh Horwitz, co-director of the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said that the laws could be effective when law enforcement bodies were properly trained and there was funding behind such programs.

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