New York’s ‘Red Flag’ Gun Law Upheld by State Court

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
March 27, 2024New York
New York’s ‘Red Flag’ Gun Law Upheld by State Court
Rifles are offered for sale at Freddie Bear Sports in Tinley Park, Ill., on April 8, 2021.(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A New York court has upheld the state’s “red flag” law that allows police to temporarily confiscate firearms of individuals deemed a threat.

The unanimous ruling was handed down last week by the New York Supreme Court Second Appellate Department, overturning a lower court’s ruling that found the law to be unconstitutional. The top court found that the law, signed by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2019, doesn’t run afoul of the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

“This regulation is consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation in keeping dangerous individuals from carrying guns and, therefore, is presumptively lawful,” the court ruled.

Corey Monroe, the plaintiff, had challenged its legality after his firearms were taken away in 2023 under the law. The man, from Middletown in New York’s Orange County, was accused of making threatening remarks to a neighbor and allegedly brandished a shotgun, it was reported.

A judge on Jan. 20, 2023, issued an extreme risk protection order, also known as a “red flag” order, against Mr. Monroe, Newsday reported. It allowed police to confiscate two shotguns that he owned.

A state Supreme Court judge in Orange County granted his request to dismiss the order, the outlet reported.

But the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court wrote that the law is constitutional and “imposes a restriction of an individual’s right to own or possess a firearm when there is probable cause to believe that he or she is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to himself, herself, or others, which is thereafter supported by clear and convincing evidence at a hearing.”

“This regulation is consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation in keeping dangerous individuals from carrying guns,” the judges wrote in the 4–0 ruling. They were referring to a U.S. Supreme Court precedent established in 2022 in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen that reaffirmed that the right to carry a pistol in public is a constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

An attorney for Mr. Monroe told local media that he is looking to appeal the decision.

“We strongly believe that New York’s red flag law continues to lack sufficient and constitutionally-required procedural protections for people who might find themselves on the receiving end of such an order,” his lawyer, Derek Andrews, said in a statement.

Similar to other states’ red flag laws, the New York law allows a relative or another person with close ties to a gun owner to ask a judge to issue an extreme risk protection order, giving police the authority to confiscate weapons on a temporary basis.

Supporters of such laws, including the Biden administration, say that they can save lives by preventing unstable individuals from killing themselves or others. But opponents say that they violate the Second Amendment and will allow police to confiscate weapons that can be used in self-defense situations.

Speaking to Newsday, Mr. Andrews was critical of the law and said it’s based on “a poorly written statute” that can “risk seizure of firearms for acts of self-defense, which is what occurred in the underlying incident alleged in support of the temporary extreme risk protection order.”

The decision comes as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced a new program to help states enforce the red flag laws, drawing criticism from top House Republicans.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement on March 24 that the DOJ program will provide “valuable resources to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others.”

“Merrick Garland just announced a massive Red Flag Operation that the DOJ will be running by using EVERY spy tool the US government has in order to violate American’s Second Amendment!!” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “This comes right after [House Speaker Mike] Johnson fully funded [President Joe] Biden’s weaponized DOJ!”

“A Federal Red Flag center; We did not authorize this,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) wrote on X. The Kentucky lawmaker noted that the announcement came after the Senate was able to pass a funding bill for the government in an early vote on March 23.

From The Epoch Times

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