NEW YORK (AP) - Amid a national gun-control debate, New York state's "red flag" law went into effect Saturday.
It allows law enforcement, school officials and families to ask a court to order the seizure of firearms from people considered to be dangerous.
State legislators who support the measure emphasize that law enforcement will not suddenly take away someone's gun. Any petition must be accompanied by evidence of risk. A hearing will then determine whether a protection order is issued keeping a person from owning or purchasing a weapon for up to one year. A gun owner may appeal.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the "red flag" legislation in February.
Opponents say it curtails the rights of law-abiding citizens.
Seventeen states have now passed red flag laws. The back-to-back shootings that killed 31 people this month in El Paso and Dayton have given new momentum to such proposals.
Since most of the laws are new, research on their effectiveness is limited. A study published last year estimated that the two states with the longest-standing laws, Connecticut and Indiana, may have had 500 fewer gun suicides over a decade as a result of the measures.
A study published this week about California's law found 21 examples in which people who had threatened public shootings were successfully disarmed.
Critics of the laws say they can result in the seizure of guns from law-abiding citizens based on thin claims of danger or false and exaggerated allegations.
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