(Albany, NY) — Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a program bill that would enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders in New York State. The legislation is based on S7133A/A8976B, previously introduced by Senators Brian Kavanagh and Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. The existing Kavanagh/Hoylman/Simon bill, which has passed the Assembly and was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, would help prevent gun violence before tragedy occurs by empowering family members, household members, police officers, and district attorneys to request court orders preventing someone from possessing or purchasing guns if a judge finds they are likely to harm themselves or others. The Governor’s bill would add educators to the list of those eligible to seek these orders.
In response, Senator Kavanagh released the following statement:
“New York already has some of the strongest gun laws in the country — in large part because of the SAFE Act, which we enacted five years ago with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s leadership. Thanks to a combination of smart laws, good policing, and community-based intervention programs, New York has the third lowest rate of gun-related death in the country.
“But every year, 900 New Yorkers are killed by guns. That is 900 too many. We can — and must — do more. And we must act now, before the legislative session ends.
“In the months since the shooting in Parkland, Florida three states have enacted Extreme Risk Protection Orders laws, bringing the total to eight states — and we cannot continue to risk New Yorkers’ lives by failing to adopt this proven measure.
“For more than a year, Senator Hoylman, Assemblymember Simon, and I have worked with our legislative colleagues and a growing coalition of gun violence prevention advocates, mental health organizations, law enforcement officials, district attorneys, and healthcare organizations to build support for Extreme Risk Protection Orders in New York State.
“The Assembly passed ERPO in 2017 and again this year, with broad bipartisan support. Every member of the Democratic Conference co-sponsors the bill, and eight Republicans on the Judiciary Committee voted to advance it just last month. We have the votes to pass ERPO legislation — if only the Republican leadership of the Senate will bring it to the floor. That must happen before we conclude our work for the year.
“The Governor’s bill — including a friendly amendment to our legislation, which would permit educators to request Extreme Risk Protection Orders — is a very important step forward in our efforts to enact this reform in New York and stop preventable gun violence.
“I look forward to working with the Governor, Senator Hoylman and Assemblymember Simon, our legislative colleagues, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Giffords, Moms Demand Action, and all of the advocates in our New York ERPO Coalition to create Extreme Risk Protection Orders and protect New Yorkers.”