“We’re wholly committed to being central players in this timely dialogue with legal experts who can guide us on ensuring the utmost safety of our school communities,” said Dr. Eric Byrne, superintendent of the Rye City School District who also serves as the president of the Lower Hudson Council of School Administrators.
The new gun legislation includes gun-free zones and new age restrictions on semi-automatic weapons. The legislation also enhanced New York’s red flag laws. School officials are one of a few categories of people who can now apply for ERPOs—court orders that temporarily restrict individuals who pose an imminent risk to themselves or others from purchasing and possessing firearms. The DA’s office says in 56% of mass shootings, the shooter exhibited dangerous warning signs before the shooting.
Every year, nearly 24,000 Americans die by firearm suicide, including more than 3,100 young people. Six out of every 10 gun deaths in the US are suicides, an average of 65 deaths a day.
“Schools are one of our most valuable partners in the fight against gun violence and the engagement of school administrators is a critical investment in the safety of our school communities,” said Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah, who earlier this summer released a detailed Gun Safety Plan in the wake of the state legislature’s response to mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde followed by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning New York’s conceal carry law. “These trainings are part of my Gun Safety Plan in action, and I’m doing everything in my power, as DA, and as a mother to school-aged children, to ensure New York’s new gun laws are used as effectively as possible.”
The first session will be held Friday, September 9, 2022, with the Council of School Administrators (CSA) at Southern Westchester BOCES with superintendents representing southern Westchester schools. The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health will also be present during these sessions.
Red flag law training with community stakeholders has been a cornerstone of DA Rocah’s agenda to keep Westchester County safe from gun violence. These trainings mark a continuation of a gun safety partnership between Westchester schools and the DA’s Office that began in 2021 with the launch of the Safe Storage Program, a countywide initiative with Moms Demand Action that provides valuable resources to families in every Westchester school district on New York’s gun laws and safe firearm storage practices.
“There is nothing more important to me than the continued safety and protection of our students in Westchester County,” said Rye resident and Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “Schools should always be a safe haven – a place where our young people can go to learn, develop and better themselves. It is our responsibility in government to partner with educators, administrators and law enforcement to guarantee the utmost safety of our school communities. I thank DA Rocah for her attention to this important matter.”
Watch a video of DA Rocah’s detailed Gun Safety Plan below or see the presentation.