New York’s red flag law should have helped thwart the Buffalo mass shooting. What went wrong?

May 18, 2022

Originally published in NBC News on May 16, 2022.

“It was designed exactly for this circumstance,” a prominent anti-gun violence lawyer said.

Less than a year after a white teenager in upstate New York was investigated for making a threatening statement at school, he legally purchased a firearm, which he is accused of using to gun down 10 Black people in a racist rampage, authorities said.

The massacre at Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo on Saturday should have been thwarted by New York’s red flag law, which aims to stop people from buying or possessing firearms when they show they’re threats to themselves or others, gun policy experts said. 

“It was designed exactly for this circumstance,” said David Pucino, the deputy chief counsel at Giffords Law Center, a gun-safety group.