New York State Police have confiscated a record number of illegal firearms in New York as Extreme Risk Protection Orders have increased more than 600% in the year since lawmakers expanded its Red Flag Law to reduce gun violence, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday.

Law enforcement statewide increased illegal gun seizures 53% from 2018 to 2022, with more than 10,500 weapons confiscated last year. Police are working together across 13 Northeastern states and in Canada to interrupt an influx of illegal weapons commonly transported along the Interstate 95 corridor.

"The incidences of gun violence are going down, and a lot of that has to do with the confiscation of illegal guns," Hochul said during an event at New York State Police Academy in Albany. 

The Legislature emboldened New York's Red Flag Law last year, requiring state police troopers to file an Extreme Risk Protection Order when they believe a New Yorker could harm themselves or others. Police have said they lack the proper resources to address the over 600% increase in those protection orders and seizing of firearms.

The state will invest $36.2 million in its Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative and expand the program to eight additional police departments in four counties as part of work done by the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns. Hochul first announced the task force last year on the heels of a rise in gun violence since the pandemic. 

"It's all about giving the local communities the resources they need," the governor said.

"I commend Gov. Hochul for her continued commitment to the GIVE initiative and our shared focus on curbing the gun violence in our communities," acting New York State Police Superintendent Steven Nigrelli said. "As evidenced by the shooting of our New York State Trooper Richard Albert this past Friday, this is a critical issue to all New Yorkers, and thanks to the support of the Governor we can continue to work together with our law enforcement partners to stop the infiltration of illegal guns into our state and communities and the violent crimes that are perpetuated with them."

Shootings that resulted in an injury declined by 28% in communities participating in the initiative, from 407 incidents down to 292, and the number of people shot decreased 27% in the first five months of 2023 at 346, compared to 475 incidents at the same time last year.

Shootings in the state have decreased to near pre-pandemic levels. They have reduced in New York City since 2021, but remain slightly higher than before the pandemic, the governor said. 

The murder rate decreased by over 10% across the state and in New York City last year, according to DCJS data.

"We have totally redefined the role of State Police in the battle to get guns off the streets," Hochul said standing next to a table with dozens of illegal firearms seized by the task force. "We have the ability to share information, we can get data in real time and we're starting to do that as well."

The funding supports 28 police departments and district attorneys offices, probation offices and sheriffs' departments in 21 counties outside New York City, with priority on communities that have seen the greatest increase in violent crime. Officials in the state Department of Criminal Justice Services analyze shootings and firearm data to determine which counties have the greatest need for assistance in reducing violent incidents. 

"We are committed to doing everything in our power to keep our communities safe from senseless acts of gun violence," Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said in a statement. "In this fight against gun violence, it is important to make sure our local law enforcement agencies and community support services have the resources they need to do the work that will get guns off our streets and this funding will do just that."