Struggling to the finish line in her first election as governor, New York's Kathy Hochul is touting that the State is using its "pre-crime" mechanism to seize guns at a blistering rate from folks that haven't broken the law. 

Hochul, who is finishing the term of disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on Monday announced a major expansion in the usage of New York State's Extreme Risk Protection Order, or so-called "Red Flag" law. The ERPO process allows police to petition the court for a temporary gun seizure order – good for a year – if they tell the court there is a possibility that the subject could pose a threat to themselves or others. First installed in August 2019, courts issued 1,552 ERPOs between then and June 1, 2022, an average of about 45 per week in the state of almost 20 million. 

Following an executive order by Hochul in May to step up enforcement and $4.6 million in extra funding for the program, State Police received 1,908 ERPOs in the not-quite-five-month period from June 2022 through October 2022, an average of 403 per month, or a 795-percent increase – and the current month isn't over yet. 

"Protecting New Yorkers is my top priority, and the expansion of the Red Flag Law is taking dangerous, deadly weapons away from those who pose a threat to themselves or others and preventing violence and tragedy," said Hochul. 

Pro-gun groups have stumped against such laws for years. Such organizations argue that "red flag" orders have negligible impact on crime and instead force individuals to surrender legal firearms to law enforcement based on often uncorroborated statements. That then puts those gun owners into an expensive uphill fight to get their rights restored.

They also criticize the trend as an unserious move to "go after the guns" for the sake of flexing for the media rather than look into potentially dangerous people, as the orders typically have no mandate for mental health evaluation tied to them, or even an obligation to begin an investigation into their possible planned actions.

“If you send police to confiscate someone’s firearms because he is considered to be a threat to himself or someone else,” Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told previously, “but you leave that individual essentially on the loose, what’s to prevent that person from committing mayhem with a car or some other weapon?"

Gottlieb also contends that the orders could be used maliciously, saying, “Nobody should be subjected to such legal abuse, essentially being considered guilty until they prove themselves innocent, and in the meantime having their Second Amendment rights suspended or revoked.”

Hochul is running against Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin for Governor, with Zeldin recently edging past her in a close poll, putting the two in a statistical dead heat with just two weeks before voters go to the polls. Zeldin has supported the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Bruen ruling against New York's unconstitutional "may issue" concealed carry laws and has blasted the Empire State's ERPOs, saying he does not support red flag laws that "target law-abiding citizens."

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