New York eyes tighter gun laws following multiple mass shootings

November 11, 2018 11:48 PM

After three mass shootings in under 30 days, Governor Andrew Cuomo now has his sights set on tightening gun laws in New York State. 

On Thursday following the deadly shooting at a California bar that left 12 dead, Cuomo says he plans to take additional steps “to make our laws even stronger.” 


But as families across the country mourn the loss of loved ones to gun violence, not everyone agrees more laws are the answer. 

Ken Mathison is the Monroe County Chair of the Shooters Committee on Political Education, or SCOPE, and believes tighter laws aren’t the solution. 

“If you have somebody that’s unstable you need to get them help,” explained Mathison. “You don’t need to just say ‘we're gonna take the guns away’ so they can’t do any harm. They will find a way.” 

“You can’t legislate against evil or crazy,” added Mathison. 

One law aiming to stop gun violence are red flag laws, which prevent people deemed a danger to themselves or others from owning a gun. 

A red flag law that has been proposed for New York would give legal standing to teachers, school administrators and parents to ask a judge to evaluate children they believe are a threat to themselves or others.

A judge can then order all firearms to be confiscated in a child's home, no matter whose guns they are which Mathison says is a violation of our second amendment. 

As for red flag laws as a whole, Mathison says they “can be effective if they’re done properly.” 

“The problem is most red flag laws focus on the gun and not on the person, or the problem, or fixing the problem,” said Mathison. 

Several states already have red flag laws, including California. California was one of the first states to pass the “gun violence restraining order” law, otherwise known as a “red flag” law. 

A family member or police officer would need to file a petition in court to have it enforced – something no one did prior to Wednesday’s shooting, not even the gunman’s mother.  

“Reports say she struggled to get help for her son and that could have been an opportunity for her to work with the courts to keep her son safe,” said Charon LeBlanc with Moms Demand Action. 

New York has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and is ranked one of the safest states, having the third-lowest firearm death rate in the entire country. 

“We see our gun laws make a difference,” said LeBlanc. “Are we gonna be able to eliminate all these deaths? Certainly not. But we can definitely change what we've been seeing.” 

As for New York’s proposed “red flag” law has passed the State Assembly and is headed to the Senate. 


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