NY Governor’s ‘Red Flag Bill’: Teachers Can Ask Courts to Seize Guns
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is continuing his anti-gun agenda. His latest brainstorm is a “red flag bill” that would allow teachers to petition judges to seize guns from a student’s home if that person is deemed a danger to themselves and others.
Cuomo’s Red Flag Bill
As the New York Daily News reports, a red flag bill has already passed the State Assembly, but it only gives family members and law enforcement officers the power to petition courts; it does not include teachers. Cuomo said this new version of the red flag bill—officially known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order Bill—is the first in the country to extend that power to teachers.
“Right now they are basically powerless,” Cuomo said at a press conference, according to the New York Post. “What this says is a teacher has an option . . . If the teacher wants to protect themselves and protect the students and the teacher has a belief, it gives them a vehicle to do something about it.”
Cuomo also used the press conference as an opportunity to hit out at President Trump’s proposal to arm qualified school personnel in the wake of Parkland.
“The President has said the answer is to give teachers guns,” Cuomo said. “To me, that is a bizarre concept. Teachers are not there to carry firearms and engage in shootouts in a school setting with hundreds of students in the venue. You don’t become a school teacher to become a security guard or a police officer. You become a teacher to be an educator. You’re not supposed to carry guns.”
Teachers Union Leaders Weigh In
The measure has the backing of teachers unions, the leaders of which joined Cuomo at Wednesday’s press conference.
“Schools should be safe sanctuaries, not armed fortresses,” Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a statement. “Teachers don’t want to be armed, we want to teach and we want to protect kids. This smart new law would empower educators and school staff to act and be heard when they suspect danger while still protecting students’ due process right. We’re proud to stand with the Governor to announce today’s proposal.”
“If you see a child who clearly is demonstrating some troubling behavior, we want you to have that ability to bring that out and deal with it,” added Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers.
Cuomo admitted that the red flag bill likely won’t pass in the New York Senate; Republicans have a majority there. Furthermore, there are only two weeks left in the 2018 New York legislative session.
“There’s no appetite by the Republican Senate to do any of these things,” Cuomo said. “I want voters to have a choice in this election season, and I want them to know the options…If the Republicans refuse to pass it, the people have a right to know they refused to pass it.”
In addition to the red flag bill, Cuomo is looking to extend the background check waiting period. It would go from three days to 10 days. He also wants to raise the minimum age for gun buys from 18 to 21.
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