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State police union concerned about rise in firearms confiscation in New York

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  • Staff Report 

The New York State Police Investigators Association has expressed concern over the increasing number of “extreme risk protection orders” (ERPOs) requiring court orders to confiscate firearms from potentially dangerous individuals. The union claims the surging caseload is detracting from other investigations and overwhelming their members. A reduction in the number of investigators, from 1,300 in 2011 to around 1,100 currently, due to retirements, promotions, and transfers, is compounding the issue.

The “Red Flag Law” of 2019, which allows for the removal of firearms from individuals deemed a risk to themselves or others, was expanded last year by Gov. Kathy Hochul. The expansion included health care practitioners and required police and district attorneys to file ERPOs when they have “credible information” about a potential risk. Consequently, the number of individuals subjected to emergency or temporary risk protection orders has significantly increased from 255 in 2020 to over 2,120 in just the first four months of this year.

The increased seizures have led to reconfiguration and expansion of evidence rooms in some State Police barracks to store the confiscated firearms. However, the broadened measures under the law have faced civil rights challenges, with some judges ruling the process unconstitutional. Despite these rulings, the law has not been struck down. The state attorney general’s office has started assigning attorneys to assist State Police with ERPO applications to ensure the laws are effectively executed.

Categories: New York StateNews