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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Monday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed 10 new gun related bills into law. One of the new pieces of legislation expands on the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), also known as the “Red Flag” law, which has been in place since 2019.
Another new piece of legislation, which has also been a push nationwide in response to recent mass shootings, is for social media companies to improve their response and reporting of hate speech.
The big question is: what will these new laws do? And, could they prevent another mass shooting in the state? NEWS10’s Conall Smith spoke with attorney Ryan McCall with Tully Rinckey PLLC to break down the new laws and what kind of effects they will have on New Yorkers.
The push for more strict gun laws comes after last month’s mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo which killed 10 and the most recent mass school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas which killed 19 children and two teachers. Governor Hochul and her fellow Democrats have pushed to eliminate what they call “loopholes” in state gun laws.
One such “loophole” lawmakers aimed to address regards the state’s Red Flag law. “So previously the Red Flag Law would allow somebody such as law enforcement to really sit there and say, ‘this person has mental health issues, maybe they shouldn’t possess a gun’,” says attorney Ryan McCall with Tully Rinckey PLLC.
The expanded law will include more than law enforcement who are able to seek an Extreme Risk Protection Order. “Now that has been expanded to include medical professionals. Say if a doctor is meeting with a patient and this doctor is noticing this patient is having ideations that may not be beneficial to that person and they can pose a danger to other individuals, that doctor now has the ability to go and seek that emergency protective order,” McCall explains.
Another new piece of legislation will require social media companies to better monitor and report hate speech on their platforms. But, since those companies are not based in New York State, do they have to comply? McCall says most likely yes.
“However, these companies I’m sure will have numerous legal challenges that are going to be raised over a variety of reasons why they don’t need to comply and that’s why you are going to see it will be a true toss-up. What is the definition of hate speech? We have a legal definition of it but moving forward is the legal definition going to be used to make these types of judgment calls on a post or something of that nature.”
The law requiring social media companies to monitor and report hate speech will take effect in New York State 180 days from Monday.