ELMIRA, NY (WETM)- As New York is trying to heal from the tragedy that took place in Buffalo this past weekend, the gun debate is ramping up once again.
Some people are pushing for more gun control, others are pushing for more mental health evaluations.
Back in June of 2021, New York State Police arrived at Susquehanna Valley High School to respond to a call that a student had made threatening statements.
That student was picked up and transported to a local hospital where a mental health evaluation was conducted, but the student was released after a short time because there seemed to be no red flags.
While the State Police won’t confirm if the student that made threatening statements was Payton Gendron, the suspect in the Buffalo mass shooting, the Associated Press is confirming it.
New York has some of the strictest gun laws, the Red Flag Law, or otherwise known as the extreme risk protection order law, went into effect in New York on August 24th, 2019.
The law is designed to prevent individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing a fire arm.
Since the State Police won’t release the name of the student who made threatening statements back in June, criminal charges were never filed, which is how the suspect was legally allowed to purchase a firearm from a local gun store.
Mental health professionals say these types of mental health evaluations that occur may never raise red flags but that doesn’t mean there isn’t cause for concern.
“A lot of times we don’t see the full picture until after a targeted violence has occurred. Once a person is on your radar as being concerning, they need to always remain there,” says Dr. Katherine Kuhlman.
The suspect legally purchased an AR-15, however the modifications and high capacity magazines he added to it, made it illegal here in New York.
But this raises a question on whether or not if anyone knew what he was planning.
“We need to have conversations with our children at the dinner table, at our schools, in our mentoring groups to let them know again that all lives have human value and that we should not dehumanize the lives of black and brown, and Asian folk.”
This racially motivated and premeditated attack is leaving many Americans frustrated and upset that the Red Flag Law designed to protect, didn’t protect the Buffalo victims.