Manhattan DA Cy Vance

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DA Vance Throws Support Behind NYS Bill That Would Keep Guns From Dangerous People

March 26, 2018 - 6:11 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance is supporting a New York state proposal to keep guns out of dangerous hands.

The legislation is called the Extreme Risk Protection Bill, and it would disarm people deemed a safety risk.

Vance told WCBS 880 that he is in strong support of a national gun control agenda, which he said “boils down to no more assault rifles, or only after a certain age; reduced size clips; dealing with access to guns by those who may have a mental illness, which really plays into these ‘red flag’ orders that you were talking about in the state, is focused on; and background checks; and eliminating the 25 percent of the gun sales that are now sold with no background check whatsoever.”

But he said advocates cannot rely on the federal government to pass all the gun control measures that have been proposed, and legislation at the New York state level is also of great importance. He said a similar “red flag” law in Connecticut has been credited by its advocates with saving 100 lives in responding to emergency situations.

Vance said there are specific conditions for defining a dangerous person in the proposed New York state law.

“What you’re looking for is someone who is at risk of something related to mental health, where family members believe activity has been demonstrated that they feel the safe thing to do is to get the guns out of the house, and that individual has a right, after a period of time, to try to get those guns back,” he said. “Domestic violence is also one of the predicate situations that would trigger one of these extreme risk violence protective orders.”

He said state lawmakers might lead the way forward in gun control – but noted that the National Rifle Association also has its own state-by-state strategy.

“They have been trying to pass state-by-state laws, which are called permitless carry laws, which means you don’t need a license or a permit at all to carry a gun concealed, so we have to go head-to-head, toe-to-toe, with the NRA around the country to make sure that their permitless carry agenda around the country does not become the majority law of the land,” he said.

Vance credited the young men and women who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 people dead in Parkland, Florida, and others who have been inspired by them, with catalyzing the movement for change in gun policies.

“The young men and women became the voice and the advocates, and they were brave enough and straight enough to then call out individual politicians, and ask them, ‘Why are you taking money from the NRA?’ It is hard to fight back as an elected representative when the person questioning you is a young man or woman – smart, committed – who just had a horrendous mass murder occur at their school,” Vance said. “And they’re asking questions which legislators can’t duck, because they’re earnest, smart young men and women.”

The Extreme Risk Protection Bill, sponsored by state Sen. Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn), is backed by all of the city’s district attorneys.

Critics of the bill say it would take due process away from gun owners.