Police officers red flag confiscation order
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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From the NRA-ILA . . .

Proponents of so-called “red flag” laws like to claim they are a “public safety” measure. But a union representing state police investigators in New York is sounding the alarm that a mandate handed down by Gov. Katherine Hochul (D) to increase seizures of lawfully-owned guns is interfering with their other crime fighting duties. Details were provided in a recent article at news site TimesUnion.com.

“Red flag” laws are a controversial gun control concept that allow certain persons to seek judicial orders for police to seize lawfully-held firearms from supposedly “dangerous” individuals and add such individuals to prohibited persons databases used for firearm-related background checks. The idea has been increasing in popularity with anti-gun activists, who see it as closing “loopholes” in current laws.

But pro-gun advocates criticize the laws for lacking adequate due process, for requiring judges to make unscientific guesses about a person’s propensity for future violence, and for failing to otherwise incapacitate truly dangerous individuals or address the underlying issues causing their instability.

Congress, over the NRA’s opposition, last year authorized federal funding to support states in adopting and implementing red flag laws. That law claimed to set standards of due process states would have to meet before being eligible for the grants. Nevertheless, as the NRA has reported, those standards appear to be loosely enforced, if they are being enforced at all.

New York’s red flag law, for example, has been found unconstitutional in at least two separate court decisions. Nevertheless, the state received over $13 million in federal funding to “support” use of the law.

Meanwhile, Gov. Hochul – an outspoken advocate of gun control – last year signed legislation and issued an executive order to expand the scope and use of red flag procedures in New York State. Among other things, these measures mandated that police and district attorneys pursue “red flag” petitions when they have “credible information” or, in some cases, probable cause, to believe an individual may pose a threat. These requirements pertain, moreover, even if the individual is not otherwise accused of actually violating the law (New York has other legal mechanisms for disarming or prohibiting firearm possession because of criminal behavior).

According to the Times Union article:

In 2020, judges issued protection orders against 255 people across New York. This year, in just over four months, the number of individuals subjected to emergency or temporary risk protection orders topped 2,120. And between 2020 and last November, State Police had seized 2,521 firearms under emergency protection orders — a figure that does not include seizures made by more than 150 other New York police agencies.

While those numbers will surely be heralded as a “success” by gun prohibition advocates, they do not necessarily translate into a safer New York State. The article goes on to quote a police union official who lamented that troopers are so busy confiscating lawfully-possessed guns under the new mandates that they are having to defer action against serious crimes.

Tim Dymond, president of the New York State Police Investigators Association, told the Times Union:

The spike in ERPOs has created an unmanageable workload that will undoubtedly cause other criminal investigations to suffer … [Extreme risk protection orders] are important but so are murder, rape and robbery investigations. We still need to be able to investigate local burglary rings. We still need to track down child predators and drug dealers.

The article also mentioned that some police agencies are seizing so many guns under the measure that they are having difficulty finding adequate facilities to store them.

Details in the Times Union report, and a related article, additionally undercut confidence in the professionalism and due process that attend New York’s red flag proceedings. According to those reports, hearings are sometimes held without representation from the district attorney’s office, with only a police officer appearing on behalf of the state. The proceedings – which concern a person’s fundamental constitutional rights – were described as “similar to those in which someone fights a traffic ticket.”

The ballooning number of red flag petitions also calls into question the effectiveness of New York’s process for vetting who obtains a firearm in the first place. New York has a licensing process for handgun acquisition that far exceeds the standards of federal law, including the submission of fingerprints and photographs. New York’s objective disqualifiers for handgun acquisition and possession are stricter than the federal disqualifiers, encompassing many more types of convictions and mental health procedures. At least one local jurisdiction also requires completion of training and passage of a test.

In addition to automatic disqualifiers, there is room for discretionary denial because of provisions requiring “good moral character” and a finding that “no good cause exists for the denial of the license.” Licenses also must be “recertified” at least every five years, with some local jurisdictions imposing stricter renewal requirements. Processing of an application can take up to six months under the statute, and anecdotal evidence suggests it may take considerably longer in some local jurisdictions.

Licensing authorities also have statutory power to revoke and cancel licenses after the fact (even apart from the “red flag” petition process). Certain types of reports calling into question an individual’s mental health can lead to summary suspension or revocation of a license and the mandatory surrender of “any and all” firearms possessed by the person.

Proponents of these measures justify them as ways to keep firearms “out of the wrong hands.” Yet the surge in red flag applications occasioned by Gov. Hochul’s actions would seem to indicate that plenty of people who navigate this process are still considered too “dangerous” by the state’s estimation to exercise their right to arms.

Meanwhile, as police hunt guns possessed by people who are not accused of crimes, the New York Times is reporting “major crimes” are up significantly in New York City, while the Times Union piece notes the state has seen a decrease in more than 200 state police investigators over the last 12 years.

Guns don’t commit crimes; people do. But recent police efforts to round up guns in the Empire State may actually be leaving criminals freer than before to prey upon the state’s residents.

That, to say the least, does not speak well gun control advocates’ priorities.

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  1. I thought most of this had been settled with Bruen and I am wondering why someone hasn’t challenged the constitutional legality of Red Flag laws like New York’s. It should be very simple, no warrant, no entry into anyone’s home, period. We have Red Flag Laws in Colorado and quite frankly no one comes into my home uninvited and without a warrant otherwise it is Make My Day. The Supreme Court reiterated not too long ago, no warrant, no entry, period.

    • It was, twice successfully, the state just didn’t appeal the decision so we will apparently have to litigate county by county till we get rid of the law by default as if we go against it before it is applied to us we do not have standing (common theme with every NY lawsuit lately.)

    • deprato, Actually not very much was settled by the Bruen decision. It seems our illustrious governor got the legislature to pass a new law more restrictive than the earlier “Sullivan Law”. There are a NUMBER of cases no pending in Federal courts in this state which states that the “new law” is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, But it is making its way through the Federal System. If the 2nd Circuit plays true to form, it will go to the Supreme Court and New York will be slapped down again.

    • “…I am wondering why someone hasn’t challenged the constitutional legality of Red Flag laws…”

      There are plenty of suits, but it’s probably news to more than a few that even “winning” such a suit means nothing if there is no agency or “power” to enforce the outcome. Worthless judgements have been commonplace in US civil matters and these cases are no different.

      All this is just another reason to actually run, and elect viable, Constitutionally-saavy Americans to office. This whole notion of filing suits is a great fundraising ploy but when the losing city, state or entity just disregards the decision, it’s just been money, and hopes wasted.

      Only elections being won will solve this mess and restore both the Second Amendment, and the entire Constitution. Otherwise, we’re just fooling ourselves. Still, I assume many around here think all these suits are working. Tell that to the people of NY, IL, MA, DE, CA, WA, et al.

      • Craig none of those states had a case go all the way through post Bruen and NY has 2 counties (more pending) where red flags are no longer enforceable (technically the state could push one but then the case goes higher than county level). Elections matter about as much as the lawsuits and we need to fight for both especially election integrity.

  2. Anyone using force to enter your home to take your lawfully owned property when there has been no due process of law to deprive you of that property is a burglar and should be treated as such.

  3. about an 8x increase.
    kind of silly to equate troopers with much of anything that goes on in nyc though.

  4. hochul and her Gun Control ilk should be red flagged…Guaranteed the number of Gun Confiscations were ballooned, grounds to deal with indivuduals who are a threat were in place before the red flag scheme in Gun Control nyc.

    It’s coming to a point in democRat infested nyc all you have to be is a POTUS DJT supporter to be red flagged.

  5. More murders will serve to justify more anti gun laws, success!
    Law enforcement is really about protecting the political classes.

  6. its a left-wing crime fighting tactic….

    for every 100 law abiding gun owners they can confiscate guns from, .001 criminals promise to give up crime.

  7. All they will see is that the NRA’s name is in this. The insanity of it all just passes right by them. It isn’t like I even need to see the NRA in this article to know it’s happening.

    THIS is why New York is in shape it’s in. But the people there are absolutely convinced that Hochul is the right person to run things.

    • 2/3 of the people overwhelmingly NYC but effectively yes you are correct and the rest of us rock people are stuck with it.

  8. Pennsylvania , you’re next if HB-1018 passes the State Senate.
    Two Bucks county RINO’s flipped and helped the Dems get this and HB – 714 to pass

  9. it’s almost as if you cease to have free will if you become LEO. “Just doing my job” “take it up in court”.

    We don’t have time, but simply because we choose to violate people’s rights. You law abiding folk aren’t a threat so you are the low hanging fruit.

    Zero sympathy when acting as the enforcement arm of political whim.

    • The Border Patrol is obeying Bidens ” policy” that run against Federal immigration law and everyone thinks they are heros, makes me sick.

  10. ‘Congress, over the NRA’s opposition, last year authorized federal funding to support states in adopting and implementing red flag laws.’

    This is why Joni Ernst won’t be getting my vote again.

    • You think she is still CC in DC (or anywhere) that handgun she was yapping about during her 1st election. At least there was entertainment value in contacting the SOB Harkin’s office.

      Ernst is exactly what I thought we would be getting in a chic vet. Or a bit worse. Need an alternative but I doubt she will be challenged.

      • Guys- you can bet there’ll be a primary challenge. She’s starting to get it now- her “Roast n Ride” thing is off/down in ticket sales as of today about 45% from last year. She’s lost the serious “gun vote” for the ERPO vote the and Steve Scheffler’s F&F Coalition has abandoned th he her for her gay vote on the phony “Family” act. I expect some conservative and Christian protests outside her event at the State Fair Grounds.

  11. Gun control is not about controlling criminals.

    They can’t control the population that can shoot back

    Think tyranny

  12. How many of these red flag confiscations are strictly vindictive? Ex spouses, disgruntled employees/employers, P.O’ed girl/boy friends, vindictive neighbors, etc.
    But, of course no one would ever abuse such laws or file false complaints to “Get Even” or punish someone.

    • and the status quo current will continue until two things change about these Red Flag debacles:

      FIRST require a WARRANT sworn to before a magistrate of competent urisdiction under penalty of perjury. Testimony of initiating party required, before the same judge.

      SECO}ND severe consequences for anyone providing false information to support the warrant/ERPO. Full perjury charges, including mandatory time served, and full civil penalties to cover any and all harms upon the party subject to the cinfiscating order.

  13. ““Red flag” laws are a controversial gun control concept”

    That’s a weird way to spell “unconstitutional and immoral”

  14. When are we going to get red flag laws for bad drivers? I would fully support that. I am sick and tired of people swerving over into my lane and then seeing they are looking at their phone. How about a website where we can upload videos of such drivers? My wife could record the idiots while I am driving that also includes auto and license plate. Look at all the lives that could be saved. Autos could be impounded along with license suspensions based on video evidence.

  15. So what happens when the NY Gestapo shows up at door and the person refuses to talk?

    Are they allowed to tear the house down to the studs?

  16. “…they are having difficulty finding adequate facilities to store them.”

    Oh, hell, I thought “they” were just holding a lottery…

  17. It is a strange pattern. When gun bills are in play strange things seem to happen that make the news.

    Actual Headline :
    A man went to CIA Headquarters and said, ‘I’m here and I have a gun,’ source says. He was later arrested at a preschool with an AK-47 in his car

    He allegedly trespassed on the grounds of Dolley Madison Preschool around 11 a.m. Tuesday, police said. The preschool is less than 1.5 miles from CIA Headquarters and about a 10-minute drive to major landmarks in Washington, including the National Mall.

    He told the arresting officer that he “worked for the CIA,” according to court filings
    KION546.com / NY Post / CNN

    W.T.F. ?

  18. Anyone notice something about this situation?

    The cops aren’t exactly standing up and saying no, here. They’re doing what they are told. Even though it’s obviously and blatantly unconstitutional.

    Food for thought.

    • you mean like the truck I saw the other day with “back the blue” and “come and take it” stickers on the back window?

  19. With a career and pension on the line and Family/mortgage it does make you think twice especially no backup


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