School bus tour drives push for 'red flag' gun bill

By David Klepper
Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo began a school bus tour of New York state Monday intended to build support for a proposal to allow parents or teachers to petition a judge to remove guns from the homes of troubled students.

The Democrat kicked off the trip with stops in Long Island and the Bronx, where he blasted Washington inaction in the face of the growing number of school shootings across the country.
While he has acknowledged his latest idea faces significant Republican opposition in the Legislature, he said it would be wrong not to try.

The proposal would give legal standing to teachers, school administrators and parents to ask a judge to evaluate a child they believe is a threat to themselves or others.

The judge could then order the confiscation of firearms in the child's home. While many states have laws allowing judges to confiscate guns from people deemed a danger, Cuomo says his proposal is the first of its kind in the nation.

“You know who knows when a student is in trouble, and when a student is dangerous or could be dangerous? The teachers know,” Cuomo said.

The bill faces long odds of passing soon. Lawmakers intend to wrap up their work for the year next week, leaving them with little time for such a contentious and complicated issue.

While the bill should easily pass the Democrat-led Assembly, it will face scrutiny in the GOP-led state Senate, where members have called for more armed school security officers.

Senate Leader John Flanagan, R-Long Island, said Monday that the Senate will closely review Cuomo’s proposal — and asked him to take a “serious and honest” look at their school safety proposals. The Senate has also voted to increase funding for upgrades to school security.

“Any school safety plan passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor must be real and it must be significant,” Flanagan said. "Ensuring the safety of New York’s schoolchildren is our most important priority.

Future stops of the multi-day bus tour have not been announced.