New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan announces the passage of gun safety legislation aimed at closing current loopholes, in the hopes that these new regulations will prevent and reduce gun violence in New York. The legislative package includes:
- Measures to ban bump stocks in New York State. The measure would prohibit the possession, manufacture, transport, shipment and sale of devices that accelerate the firing rate of firearms so they operate in the same manner as machine guns, including trigger cranks and bump-fire devices (A.9958).
- The Domestic Violence Escalation Prevention Act, which would prevent domestic violence abusers from having access to weapons by prohibiting an individual who has been convicted of a domestic violence crime from purchasing or possessing a firearm (A.5025).
- Establish a waiting period of 10 days – instead of the current three days – before a gun may be delivered to a purchaser whose background check is not completed (A.2406). Under current federal law, gun dealers must conduct a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) before selling a firearm. The NICS system responds with one of three messages – “proceed,” “denied” or “delayed.” The dealer must deny the sale if the NICS background check determines the buyer is a prohibited purchaser and responds with a “denied” message. However, if the response is “delayed,” the dealer may nonetheless complete the sale after three business days. In these cases, the FBI continues to investigate whether the person is an eligible purchaser beyond the three-day period even though the person has likely already been sold the firearm.
- Another measure passed by the Assembly requires out-of-state citizens who also have homes in New York to waive the confidentiality of their home state mental illness records when applying for a firearm here (A.9978). Closing this dangerous loophole will help law enforcement better protect our communities, Ryan stated.
In announcing these new measures, Ryan was joined by Meghan Connors of Moms Demand Action Buffalo, and Erin Byers, a senior at Pioneer High School who has been active in pushing for new gun safety legislation in the wake of the Parkland Florida shooting.
“Again and again, senseless gun violence takes innocent lives, leaving agony, heartbreak and indescribable grief in its wake.” Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “But as the brave survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have made clear, there can be no excuse for inaction. These tragedies – whether it’s the headline-grabbing mass shootings or the day-to-day gun violence that afflicts far too many of our neighborhoods – don’t have to be routine. Our children don’t have to die.”
The Democratic-controlled Assembly passed the measures quickly, which will now be sent to the State Senate, which has a Republican Majority. Upstate Sen. John Bonacic (R) told the State of Politics website that he “would be willing to consider bans on bump stocks and extending the waiting period to purchase a gun so a more extensive background check is conducted.”
“These requests in my mind are reasonable,” Bonacic said, “Those are a couple of things that I’m going to be advocating in my conference.”
According to a recent NY Post article, Sen. Elaine Phillips (R-LI) also backed gun control measures such as the bump stock ban. It’s looking like there is only one more Republican vote needed to pass this legislation through the NY Senate. That vote could come as early as next week. If this legislation passes both houses, it would go to Governor Andrew Cuomo to be signed into law.
Under current New York State law, it is illegal to attach a gun modification device such as a bump stock to a firearm. However, there is no restriction on the sale or possession of bump stocks or other similar devices. The measure included in this legislation will prohibit the possession, manufacture, transport, shipment and sale of devices that accelerate the firing rate of firearms in New York State. This type of firearm modification enabled a single gunman to kill 58 people and injure over 500 in the October 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting. Using bump stocks on two separate weapons, the individual responsible was able to fire more than 1,100 rounds in approximately 10 minutes.
Also Included in this legislation was the ability of the courts to issue a restraining order, known as an “extreme risk protection order,” that would prohibit a person who exhibits “serious signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm for up to one year (A.8976-B).” The legislation goes onto state that,
The petitioner, who could be a family member or law enforcement officer, would be required to file a sworn application describing the circumstances and justification for the request. Following a hearing, the court could grant the order if there is a finding that there is reasonable cause to believe the individual in question is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to him or herself or others. In emergency circumstances, the court would also be authorized to issue a temporary order restricting access to firearms pending a final hearing.
Under the existing appeals procedure provided in the civil practice laws and rules, “individuals would be permitted to appeal a court’s decision to issue an extreme risk protection order. They would also be entitled to submit a request, at any time while the order is in place, for a hearing to discontinue the order based on a change of circumstances and a showing that he or she no longer poses a danger.”
This legislation in no way hinders the rights of law-abiding citizens. What it does is help prevent suicides, fatal domestic violence incidents and possibly even mass shootings,” said Assemblyman Ryan. “Simply put, an extreme risk protection order could prove the difference between life and death.” Currently, five states – California, Connecticut, Indiana, Oregon and Washington – have extreme risk protection orders, or so-called red flag laws in place, Ryan noted.
According to the FBI, the three-day waiting period did not allow the agency enough time. From 2010 to 2014, this lead to more than 15,000 gun sales to individuals who were prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Assemblyman Ryan added that, “The additional waiting period provided for in the legislation will give law enforcement the time they need to do their job, and would help ensure that only those who have cleared a background check are able to purchase firearms.”
If you are interested in more information on this legislation or would like to call your representative to express your opinion on this issue, you can find contact information for your State Assembly Representative here, and your State Senate Representative here.