Parents, teachers praise Cuomo's "Red Flag" bill

Posted at 3:10 PM, Feb 26, 2019

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that he says prevents individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing any kind of firearm.

The law takes effect in 180 days.

When that happens teachers and administrators will have the power to try and have guns taken from students they feel might pose a threat.

This is something the New York State United Teachers union President Andy Pallotta says is a good move.

“This is common-sense legislation that will help protect students, teachers and the entire school community. I thank the Governor and the Legislature for their leadership on this critical issue and look forward to working with them to continue improving school safety.”

Parents agree.

“I think it’s good that we’re arming teachers with the law,” said Duncan Kirkwood, external public advocate for the District Parent Coordinating Council.

He says as long as this is done the right way - it will save lives in the long run.

“As long as the law comes with training or those professionals to recognize some of those red flags, it will be good for our kids, and good for our schools.”

Kirkwood, who has a military background, says training is what will make a difference when this goes into effec

“In almost even single incident where someone hurts themselves, there are signs that people missed,” he said.
“That their friends missed, that their family missed — or ignored. In almost every single case.”

According to the governor, the Red Flag Bill provides all necessary procedural safeguards to ensure that no firearm is removed without due process.

"Today, New York is proud to pass the first-in-the-nation Red Flag Bill that empowers school teachers to do something when they believe something bad is going to happen," the governor said in a statement. "New York led the way by passing the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, but more must be done to end this carnage."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi joined the governor in releasing a statement on the signing.

"These bills are bold and far-reaching, containing strong, comprehensive solutions to save lives and end the crisis of senseless gun violence in America," the leader of the house said in a statement. "Leaders in the State House and in the U.S. House must continue to work together to ensure that no other family is forced to endure the tragedy and heartbreak of gun violence, whether in our schools, in our places of worship, on our streets or in any place."

She added this is not a bill that will enforce profiling.

“We don’t want to stigmatize as we do this, we want to identify.”

Gun shop owners in New York say this new legislation won't change the way they operate much.

The governor's office says that the new legislation builds on New York's gun laws and makes New York the first in the United States to empower its teachers and school administrators to prevent school shootings by pursuing court intervention.