Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul made a stop at Ellenville High School during her bus trip around the state to drum up support for what has become known as the "Red Flag" gun bill. The bill would allow police, school officials and relatives of gun owners to petition courts to seize guns from people who have shown signs they might hurt others.
Hochul went to Ellenville for a reason: "There are some very influential Republican senators in this area," she said.
Currently, no one can petition a judge in New York to seize guns from someone who has not already been accused of criminal or family offenses. The "Red Flag" gun bill would change that so that anyone who meets any criteria listed in the bill could be subject to a temporary extreme risk protection order.
In other words, a teacher or police officer could petition a court to temporarily seize that person's guns.
Those criteria include:
(a) A threat, act of violence or use of physical force directed toward one's self, the petitioner or another person.
(b) A violation or alleged violation of an order of protection
(c) Any pending charge or conviction for an offense involving the use of a weapon
(d) Reckless use, display or brandishing of a firearm
(e) Any history of a violation of an extreme risk protection order
(f) Evidence of recent or ongoing abuse of drugs or alcohol
(g) Evidence of recent acquisition of a firearm, rifle, shotgun or other deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or any ammunition
In an interview after the Ellenville High School rally, Hochul said senate Republicans may pay prices in their next elections, since it has such wide support.
"We'll make sure [they] know that you missed this opportunity to do what is right for the people of the state," Hochul said, "but particularly, the children who go to schools like Ellenville."
Spectrum News reached out to the offices of several Hudson Valley GOP senators for comment on the legislation. As of Tuesday evening, none had provided statements or indicated how they plan to vote.
The bill has been expected to pass the Assembly. In the Republican-controlled Senate, though, passage seems less likely.
The Assembly's minority leader, Brian Kolb (R - District 131), said in a statement, "Decisions on a person’s mental health should be left to mental health professionals."
Kolb went on to say that the current administration must approach the issue of school shootings with more of a big-picture perspective.
"We should be collaborating with experts from education, mental health, law enforcement and first-responders to raise the standard of safety in every school in the state," he said. "That approach may not be as politically convenient for the governor, but it would be far more effective."