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Hochul signs executive order on guns after Buffalo

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New York would require state police to seek court orders to keep guns away from people who might pose a threat to themselves or others under a package of executive orders and gun control bills touted Wednesday by Gov. Kathy Hochul in the aftermath of a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket. The Democrat's announcement came days after a white 18-year-old wearing military gear killed 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo supermarket using a rifle purchased legally a few months ago. New York is among states that have a so-called "red flag" law, that allows law enforcement officials to petition a court to take away someone's firearms if they are potentially dangerous because of a mental health problem. That law was in place last spring when State Police questioned Gendron over comments he made as a senior at Susquehanna Valley High School about wanting to commit a murder/suicide. He was taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation under a state mental health law, and was released a day and a half later. State police did not, however, initiate the court process to temporarily take away Gendron's access to guns following the incident. Hochul said state police must now file for extreme risk protection orders under New York's Red Flag law when they have probable cause to believe someone is a threat to themselves or others. New York will also track and try to stop domestic violent extremism on social media through new units in the state police and the state's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency The new units will fund local threat assessment management teams, and track and intervene when people who are showing signs of radicalization through their social media posts. New York will also train law enforcement, school and mental health professionals about the uptick in domestic and homegrown violent extremism and radicalization. "This information was out there... we are going to ramp up these efforts intensely at our intelligence center because there's a feeding frenzy going on in social media that hate just breeds more hate," Hochul said. The governor wants lawmakers to pass her bill to make more kinds of guns subject to the state's firearm laws. She also supports other pending bills, including one to report the recovery of any gun used in a crime within 24 hours of their discovery. Hochul, a Buffalo native, said the nation's almost become desensitized to the devastation of mass shootings and gun violence, and the spread of extremist ideology online. Appearing with the governor, the Rev. Al Sharpton said racism and violence pose an existential threat to this country, and said he hopes Hochul's executive orders will address the spread of white supremacy and online radicalization.


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