ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — New York State’s extreme risk protection orders – also known as red flag laws – prevent those who are a threat to themselves or others from owning a gun. The Governor recently signed legislation making the application process easier.

Just last month, a total of 355 extreme risk protection orders also known as ERPOs were issued in New York. An ERPO can be filed by a family member, police officer, school official, health care worker or district attorney, but it comes with a price tag of $210. “And a lot of people don’t have that kind of cash laying around, that’s a huge chunk of one’s paycheck in a lot of instances, and so what this bill very simply does is it waived this $210 indexing fee,” said Senator James Skoufis, who sponsored of the bill.

Skoufis reflected on the impact that red flag laws carry and pointed to the 2018 Parkland Florida shooting that left 17 dead. “There were all these … recountings of how many times sheriffs went to that young man’s home, time, after time, after time and if a red flag law was in place in Florida, the police would’ve been able to take that young man’s guns before obviously the heinous tragedy that took place in parkland,” he said.

After the application is submitted to the respondent’s local Supreme Court, due process takes place. A judge will review the application and decide if an ERPO should be issued. If granted, police will remove guns from the respondent and bar them from purchasing guns. Skoufis told Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige that the bill was inspired after a police chief in his district of Orange County told him many people who were not in law enforcement couldn’t afford to file the application, “Because he was seeing firsthand that a lot of people were not because of this filing fee.”

State officials including the Governor say this will be a more straight forward process that will promote public safety.