Red Flag Applications Have Increased by Over 1,000% in New York

New York has carried out a significant expansion in the filing of red flag gun confiscation orders at a time when two state Supreme Court justices have determined they are unconstitutional. 

Owing to the state government’s declaration of gun violence as a public emergency, enforcement of red flag gun confiscation orders has exploded. 

The number of red flag gun confiscation orders has grown from 95 in 2021 to 584 in 2022, per data published from the New York State Police. The 283 in the first three months in 2023 sets the rate for nearly 1,100, which represents a 1,057% increase. 

In August 2021, then-Government Andrew Cuomo issued a gun violence state of emergency. 

Governor Kathy Hochul issued an executive order in May 2022 that instructed state law enforcement to file increased numbers of red flag gun confiscation orders.

Since then, two court rulings determined that the red flag orders were unconstitutional.

In December 2022, state Supreme Court Judge Thomas Moran ruled that the red flag gun confiscation order was unconstitutional. He declared that the order didn’t feature the “same constitutional protections” as the state’s mental hygiene law.

In April, state Supreme Court Judge Craig Brown ruled that the red flag order was unconstitutional. The ruling observed that there wasn’t a “requirement of any input from a medical or mental health expert” in the red flag order, whereas the mental hygiene law did mandate a physician’s opinion.

Peter Tilen, a New York-based lawyer, states on his legal firm’s website that red flag gun confiscation orders “have become very popular in anti-gun states and are a way for government officials to take away the Second Amendment rights of individuals who have not committed any crime.”

Tilem stated that the two cases where state Supreme Court judges determined that the orders were unconstitutional would not have a binding effect until they received challenges in the appellate court and affirmed.

Additionally, Tilem said a state Supreme Court could potentially issue an injunction that would prevent the state police from filing red flag orders by imposing a statewide injunction if a complaint were submitted. 

“We have maintained from the beginning that ERPO cases were an abuse of long-held constitutional principles,” Tilem said in email correspondence with The Center Square. “The idea that a person, who has not committed any crime, could lose a constitutional right with little due process flies in the face of long-held constitutional norms.”

New York is one of the most anti-gun states in the nation. According to Guns & Ammo magazine’s best states for gun owners rankings, New York is ranked in 51st place, making it the worst state for gun owners in the US.

So it should come as no shock that New York continues to vigorously enforce red flag gun confiscation orders. As one of the country’s most anti-Second Amendment jurisdictions, New York is a polity that’s thoroughly hostile to individual freedoms. 

Freedom-lovers would do best to avoid the Empire State at all costs.

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