Hudson Valley Students Join Cuomo in Common Sense Gun Laws Battle
Elected officials and students from the Hudson Valley joined in on the battle to bring "common sense" gun laws to New York State.
On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's statewide bus tour to pass the Red Flag Gun Protection Bill stopped in Ulster and Westchester counties.
The Red Flag Protection Bill, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order Bill, was advanced by the Governor last week.
The bus tour stopped at Ellenville High School and White Plains High School to bring together local elected officials, school staff and students in support of the bill.
"Our local students have been calling for change and Governor Cuomo has answered that call," Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach said. "The Governor is addressing the threat of school shootings and providing a tool for teachers to bring attention to dangerous behaviors witnessed in the classroom. This is a significant step forward in our efforts to keep schools throughout this county safe."
The bill will prevent individuals determined by a court to have the potential to cause themselves or others serious harm from purchasing, possessing, or attempting to purchase or possess any type of firearm, including handguns, rifles or shotguns.
"New York will not stand by and wait for Washington to take action against the gun violence and school shootings that have become all too common in this country," Cuomo said. "Parents should not have to fear sending their children to school every day and teachers should not have to wonder if they will return home from work. Together, we can and will pass this common sense gun legislation and we will continue to fight to ensure gun violence has no place in this great state."
If passed, the bill would make New York the first in the United States to empower its teachers and school administrators to prevent school shootings by pursuing court intervention, officials say.
"If a fellow colleague or student poses a demonstrable threat or danger to others, we should not enable them to own a gun," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "With this legislation, we're continuing our push for common sense gun measures by providing teachers and administrators with a right to report and possibly prevent a terrible tragedy."
According to the Governor's Office, the following Ulster County leaders endorsed the bill:
- Ulster County Executive Mike Hein
- Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach
- Ellenville Mayor Jeff Kaplan
- New Paltz Town Supervisor Neil Bettez
- New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers
- Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano
- Kingston City Mayor Steve Noble
- Town of Rosendale Supervisor Jeanne Walsh
"It is truly disheartening that our children have grown up in a society where school shootings are not a random phenomenon, but a regular event," Ulster County Executive Mike Hein said. "Students have had to witness their peers and teachers die in classrooms, hallways, and cafeterias in a place that was once meant for learning, not fear. I commend Governor Cuomo for not just standing by these students who have said enough is enough, but for taking real measures to ensure that no student in New York State is put at risk of gun violence ever again."
The following Westchester County leaders endorsed the Extreme Risk Protection Order:
- Westchester County Executive George Latimer
- Westchester Legislature Majority Leader Catherine Parker
- Westchester Legislature Chairman Ben Boykin
- Westchester District Attorney Anthony Scarpino
- White Plains Mayor Tom Roach
"The Governor's Red Flag Bill is the first of its kind to include educators, who know their students and their schools best," American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said. "It will ensure we can alert authorities when someone shows signs of being a serious threat to themselves or others."
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