Prosecutors push for gun control measure

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York City’s five district attorneys are joining the fight to enact legislation that will help take guns away from dangerous individuals, The New York Daily News has learned.

The prosecutors are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature to adopt as part of the state’s new budget a measure that gives judges the power to issue “extreme-risk protection orders” that would block people deemed likely to harm themselves or others from possessing or purchasing guns.

“This law will help to protect all of us from needless gun violence,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

“No one who poses a danger to the public or themselves should have a gun,” added Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark. “We have seen far too many deaths that might have been prevented if warning signs had been acted upon.”

Brown, Clark, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon — all Democrats — are set to announce as early as Sunday that they are joining a coalition of lawmakers and gun control advocates urging passage of the so-called ERPO bill.

“It allows us to take guns out of the hands of those who pose a risk to the public or their family members before a tragedy occurs,” McMahon said. “This is especially critical when dealing with domestic violence incidents, which can escalate quickly and are an almost everyday occurrence on Staten Island.”

The prosecutors’ announcement comes as Cuomo and state lawmakers are in the midst of negotiations over the state’s 2018-19 budget, which must be in place before the start of the new fiscal year on April 1.

Cuomo also favors the bill.

“We support this and other measures to further strengthen the strongest gun safety laws in the nation,” Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said.

The Democrat-controlled Assembly has already approved a version of the ERPO bill and included it as part of its budget proposal, but the measure has stalled in the GOP-controlled Senate.

A spokesman for GOP Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan did not respond to a request for comment.

Flanagan has previously said the Senate’s focus was on school safety measures instead of new gun restrictions. The Senate recently passed a package of bills designed to strengthen school safety, including having armed security at each school.

Democratic state Sen. Brian Kavanagh, a sponsor of the ERPO bill, said support from the district attorneys will boost the legislation’s chances of becoming law.

“District attorneys are a very important part of the conversation when we are talking about legislation to protect people,” Kavanagh said. “I believe this is on the table and I believe we are going to get this done.”


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