New York is giving public school teachers the power to compel a judge to consider whether certain students deserve to own firearms through a new “Red Flag Law” championed by Democrats.
The law, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a ceremony in New York City on Monday, is intended to prevent school shootings, suicides or other tragedies by giving teachers and school administrators a means to alert a judge to students who may be a threat to themselves or others, WNYT reports.
“A judge would have the power to order a mental evaluation of the student and direct the removal of firearms from his or her home under the new law,” according to the Associated Press.
“When the teacher sees there’s a problem or a family member sees there’s a problem and believes that a person could be in danger to themselves or others, they can go to a judge and say, ‘Please do an evaluation, I think this young person needs help. Please help them,'” Cuomo said.
Critics of the legislation contend the law circumvents police who are trained to assess and mitigate threats to revoke constitutional rights through questionable legal proceedings that are stacked against gun owners.
“The state is enabling those who know nothing of proper policing of public safety to propose to the court that someone is a danger. The individuals making these accusations need only to provide the court a compelling reason that probable cause exists — without the actual hard evidence that would have been collected by police,” wrote Daily News columnist Bob Confer.
Confer pointed out ways the new law could be abused by folks with a personal vendetta and the difficult process for removing a court order once imposed.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attended the bill signing, as did Linda Beigel Schulman, mother of a teacher who was killed during a shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last year that left 17 dead.
Schulman believes her son Scott would still be alive if a similar law would have been in place in Florida. Reports following the shooting revealed law enforcement and school officials missed opportunities to head off the Parkland shooter, who had a long history of disturbing behavior.
“Teachers and students at the school say they knew the shooter was a threat but there was nothing they could do because there was no law in place,” Schulman said, according to WNYT.
Schulman contends the Red Flag Law “will save lives.”
“Parkland would never happened and my son would still be alive if Parkland had the Red Flag Law on February 13, 2018,” she said.
The bill signing ceremony was held at John Jay College, where the governor honored a long list of important people who attended the spectacle, mostly Democrat politicians and union bosses.
Pelosi praised the “landmark gun violence prevention legislation” and Cuomo, “for his tremendous leadership” and his “courage to pass this legislation.”
The House Speaker said the New York bill helps to “build the momentum” to enact gun restrictions in Congress, which she intends to do within days.
“When we bring up our legislation this week, we will pass the bill on the floor of the House to prevent gun violence. We will pass that bill,” Pelosi said. “And we will do so, again, because of what you have done here to build the momentum. The outside mobilization to make the case.
“So that now, 90 percent of the public supports gun violence prevention by way of background checks, and that includes many gun owners and many members of the National Rifle Association,” Pelosi alleged.
Moments later, she explained how her bill goes beyond background checks.
“What it will do is encourage the enactment of extreme risk protection order law, as you’re doing here; prevent domestic violence abusers and stalkers from obtaining firearms, again you’re in the lead; and to provide funds to the (Centers for Disease Control) to fund gun violence prevention research, very, very important; … so we have the capacity to save lives,” Pelosi preached.
“This will not end here,” she said, “we have more to do.”