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Gov. Cuomo signs 'red flag' gun control legislation into law 

Under the law, New Yorkers deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others would have their guns confiscated.

On Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. signed into law the "red flag" measure that says New Yorkers deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others would have their guns confiscated. (Credit: NYS)

ALBANY — New Yorkers deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others will have their guns confiscated under a measure overwhelmingly passed by the Legislature in January and signed into law Monday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The so-called red flag measure is part of a package of bills approved by the Legislature in January. A Cuomo aide said the governor will sign the other parts of the package into law in coming weeks. The red flag bill is the most significant gun control legislation to become New York law since Cuomo’s 2013 SAFE Act. That comprehensive law included a ban on more firearms that are considered to be assault weapons and more background checks at points of sale. It also required regular reauthorization of pistol permits.

“The SAFE Act saved lives and didn’t infringe on anyone’s rights,” Cuomo said Monday. “The red flag bill … is common sense. It is logical. It is factual. We just have to get past the politics and the fear because Americans are smarter than this.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California attended Cuomo’s bill signing, She said New York and Cuomo are leading the way for what she called sensible gun control despite political opposition from the National Rifle Association, Republicans and President Donald Trump.

“The survival of our children is much more important than your political survival,” Pelosi said she tells colleagues in Congress.

The red flag measure addresses legal gun owners who develop mental illness after they obtained firearms and pass a background check. A judge, acting on a concern of a family member or acquaintance, would have to consider the input of physicians. The firearms owner has a right to appeal after a judge issues the order.

The order would expire after a year, but could be extended.

The rest of the package of bills when signed into law will extend the potential waiting period for buying a gun up to 30 days and would ban the arming of teachers as a safeguard against school shootings under a bill sponsored by State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach).

Another measure would ban “bump stocks,” which can allow a rifle’s trigger to be pulled fast to shoot many bullets in seconds.

The Legislature passed the package in January, part of their aggressive month of passing progressive measures. The red flag act and other gun control bills had been blocked by the Senate’s Republican majority, which lost control of the Senate in the November elections.

A year ago, when Cuomo first pushed the law, the National Rifle Association said it was part of an “extreme political agenda” that continues “the war on law-abiding New York gun owners.”

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