Gov. Andrew Cuomo is using his bully pulpit again, proposing more gun control in New York as he launched a bus tour full of theatrics this week calling for teachers and other unaccountable school officials to confiscate firearms. Governor's Program Bill 27 has been introduced in the state Assembly as A.11148. The bill has cleared committee in the Assembly and is expected to pass the anti-gun Assembly. A Senate companion bill has not been introduced yet.
Lawmakers in Albany are entering the homestretch of the 2018 session, and they are tentatively looking to end the session next week. This is a dangerous time of the year when legislation moves quickly with virtually no public debate. It is important that you contact your Senators immediately and insist that they not pass any more gun control, particularly A.11148 or any similar Senate bill that may be introduced.
A.11148 creates an "extreme risk protection order," and the bill sets up a process for gun confiscation that lacks due process for those who are subject to these temporary and permanent orders. This is a troubling bill that would allow teachers, coaches, guidance counselors and even part time employees to petition to have firearms surrendered. This can all be done with ex parte hearings where a person is not entitled to notice and a hearing. The bill contains a very low burden of proof, probable cause. A.11148 directs courts to consider innocuous circumstances like simple firearm ownership when ruling on whether a threat exists. And when a person petitions to have the order lifted the burden of proof is improperly reversed so that the respondent is now forced to prove by "clear and convincing" evidence that the order should be lifted. This type of order is rife for abuse. Teachers with differing political opinions or personal differences could initiate these court proceedings with little proof that an actual threat exists. It also creates serious Fourth Amendment infringements whereby parents and legal guardians could be forced to surrender their guns. The bill does nothing to punish those who make false allegations.
Finally, this bill will do nothing to improve school and public safety. It is focused entirely on firearms to the exclusion of other weapons including knives, automobiles, improvised explosives or other weapons. If a person is truly a threat the person should be arrested or involuntarily committed and there are processes under current law that would allow for that through normal legal channels. This bill is nothing more than anti-gun Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushing his extreme political agenda and continuing to wage war on law-abiding New York gun owners. Please contact your state Senator today and respectfully request that this legislation be defeated. The mere fact that Gov. Cuomo continues to call for more gun control is simply an admission that his 2013 SAFE Act was an utter failure and did nothing except harass and punish lawful gun owners in New York. The Governor should follow the lead of the Senate and get serious about school safety by hardening schools with actual security measures instead of more political pandering.