Locals flag new gun law in Yates County

Local officials are taking a close look at a state law that will go into effect in late August with a goal to prevent individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing any kind of firearm.

At last week’s meeting of the Public Safety Committee of the Yates County Legislature, District Attorney Todd Casella shared concerns about the newly enacted state Red Flag law, particularly; the risks law enforcement will face in trying to carry out court orders to seize firearms, the liability the county will face in possible lawsuits, and the logistical matter of storing seized weapons.

The essence of the law will permit family members, teachers, school administrators, and prosecutors to seek court orders to seize guns, according to information from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statement during the Feb. 25 signing of the law.

“It seems this is another law that’s not well thought out,” said Casella.

Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike concurred, saying the Sheriff’s Office weapons storage is “completely out of space,” and new areas for secured storage are being explored, including the third floor of the courthouse.

“Weapons surrendered or seized pursuant to such an order may be held for at least two years unless transferred to another party, or until the order is expired or lifted,” Spike explains. He says the sheriff’s office is currently holding for safe keeping a quantity of firearms both long and hand guns for various reasons.

“Whether by court order or not, we have provided this as a community service or as a courtesy while someone is awaiting a permit to be issued, etc… We are looking at our space and security options,” he explained in an email.

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