After Buffalo massacre, NY governor seeks action on guns

May 18, 2022, 12:27 PM | Updated: 2:03 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York would require state police to seek court orders to keep guns away from people who might pose a threat to themselves or others under a package of executive orders and gun control bills touted Wednesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul in the aftermath of a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket.

The Democrat’s announcement came days after a white 18-year-old wearing military gear killed 10 Black shoppers and workers at the supermarket using a rifle purchased legally a few months ago.

New York is among states that have a so-called “red flag” law, which allows law enforcement officials to petition a court to take away someone’s guns if they are potentially dangerous because of a mental health problem.

That law was in place last spring when state police questioned shooting suspect Payton Gendron over comments he made as a senior at Susquehanna Valley High School about wanting to commit a murder-suicide. He was taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation under a state mental health law, and released a day and a half later.

State Police did not, however, initiate the court process to temporarily take away Gendron’s access to guns following the incident.

Hochul said state police must now file for extreme risk protection orders under New York’s red flag law when they have probable cause to believe someone is a threat to themselves or others.

State police themselves have successfully applied for 300 of over 1,000 protection orders granted by courts under the red flag law, which became effective in fall 2019, according to State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen.

Hochul said such orders typically last for one year but can be renewed. Courts can bar people from possessing or buying firearms or order them to give up firearms.

Hochul’s executive order mostly affects people who interact with police on the highway or people who live outside of New York City and the state’s biggest communities: New York state police serve the state’s highway system and typically rural communities in need of law enforcement assistance.

New York will also track and try to stop violent domestic extremism on social media through new units in the state police and the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

The new units will fund local threat assessment management teams, as well as track and intervene when people show signs of radicalization through their social media posts. New York will also train law enforcement, school and mental health professionals about the uptick in domestic and homegrown violent extremism and radicalization.

“We’re watching you now,” Hochul said. “We know what you’re up to. And we’ll be coming after you.”

The governor wants lawmakers to pass her bill to make more kinds of guns subject to the state’s firearm laws. Hochul, a Buffalo native, said the nation has almost become desensitized to the devastation of mass shootings and gun violence, and the spread of extremist ideology online.

“I hope to God this is the wake up call this country has needed,” Hochul said, speaking to reporters in New York City.

“We believe that together these steps are necessary to confront the stem of rising hatred, widespread extremism in our state,” Hochul later added.

Appearing with the governor, the Rev. Al Sharpton said racism and violence pose an “existential threat to this country,” and said he hopes Hochul’s executive orders will address the spread of white supremacy and online radicalization.

“Because there was a time our parents had been running from the Klan, Ku Klux Klan,” he said. “But the Klan wore hoods hiding them from the world. We’re living in a time where bigots livestream and show you who they are.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A demonstrator in Tel Aviv holds a sign calling for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel war on Nov. 21...

Associated Press

Hamas releases a third group of hostages as part of truce, and says it will seek to extend the deal

The fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was back on track Sunday as the first American was released under a four-day truce.

2 days ago

Men look over the site of a deadly explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 18, ...

Associated Press

New AP analysis of last month’s deadly Gaza hospital explosion rules out widely cited video

The Associated Press is publishing an updated visual analysis of the deadly Oct. 17 explosion at Gaza's Al-Ahli Hospital.

6 days ago

Peggy Simpson holds a photograph of law enforcement carrying Lee Harvey Oswald's gun through a hall...

Associated Press

JFK assassination remembered 60 years later by surviving witnesses to history, including AP reporter

Peggy Simpson is among the last surviving witnesses who are sharing their stories as the nation marks the 60th anniversary.

6 days ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, ...

Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas; deal includes release of 50 hostages

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire deal with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war.

7 days ago

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump helps serve food to Texas Natio...

Associated Press

Trump receives endorsement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott during a visit to a US-Mexico border town

Donald Trump picked up the Texas governor’s endorsement Sunday during a visit to a U.S.-Mexico border town.

8 days ago

Eric Trump, executive vice president of Trump Organization Inc., speaks to the media as he leaves f...

Associated Press

Lawyers in Trump’s civil fraud trial are ordered to clam up about judge’s communications with staff

Eric Trump testified Friday that he was relying on accountants to ensure the accuracy of financial statements.

25 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Desert Institute for Spine Care (DISC) wants to help Valley residents address back, neck issues through awake spine surgery

As the weather begins to change, those with back issues can no longer rely on the dry heat to aid their backs. That's where DISC comes in.



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

After Buffalo massacre, NY governor seeks action on guns