New York's 'red flag law' drawing mixed reviews

August 25, 2019 06:27 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Stepping in before it's too late. That's the goal of New York's red flag law.

With the law now in effect, gun control advocates like Sarah Dumrese say the law could prevent future mass shootings.


"Over 50% of mass shooters display warning signs well before any event," Dumrese said.

The law, which is currently in effect 16 other states, allows law enforcement to temporarily take weapons from a person who may be a danger to themselves or other people.

It's something Dumrese's organization, Mom's Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, had been pushing for in the state for years.

She says the law is not a punishment, but a way to give family and friends the ability to possibly prevent a tragedy.

"The point of sale, when the background check is issued, those aren't necessarily the circumstances in a person's life going forward," Dumrese said.

But not everyone sees it the same way.

"Boom, your guns are gone," Ken Mathison said.

Mathison co-chairs the Monroe County chapter for the gun education group Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE). He says the law is unconstitutional and that it lacks the right protections for legal gun owners.

"Another way to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens and make it hard for them to get them back," Mathison said.

The law allows for a judge to oversee a confiscation case and choose if it's right to give the gun back to a person.

Mathison says this gives the state too much power and opens the door for people to make false accusations in order to get a gun taken away.

"These laws assume that you're guilty, rather than innocent," he said.

But Dumrese disagrees.

"You can't just make an accusation that's not backed up by evidence," she said. "A judge would never issue an order in that sense."

Long term, Dumrese says her organization will continue to push for the law on a federal level.

She says she's confident it could happen, because she says, gun control, is not a partisan issue.

In a statement on Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the law “a big step forward for common-sense gun safety” and called on the federal government to “follow New York State’s lead.”


Andrew Hyman

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