Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his State of the State address Jan. 15, 2019, discusses his proposals for new gun-control laws in New York.
Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY – Six years after New York passed the controversial SAFE Act, a new round of gun-control bills are set to pass the state Legislature.
On Tuesday, Democrats are expected to pass at least eight bills that would ban bump stocks, allow people to seek a court order to ban dangerous people from having guns, and bar school districts from letting teachers be armed.
Lawmakers are also set to extend the waiting period from three days to 10 days for an inconclusive background check to clear before a gun can be purchased.
The measures come after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature passed the SAFE Act in January 2013 (with a Republican-led Senate at the time) in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
“We have proven that gun safety laws are needed,” Cuomo said Thursday, “and I think we’ve also proven that gun safety laws can exist without the jeopardized or dreaded fear of a slippery slope: ‘Really, they’re trying to take away our guns.’ Nobody’s trying to take away guns from legal people who are mentally healthy.”
Moving quickly on gun laws
Republicans in the Senate had blocked the new gun laws amid pushback from the National Rifle Association and some constituents.
There was no immediate comment from the NRA on the plans in New York.
Democrats, running Albany now, are eager to pass gun-control bills that have long languished at the Capitol.
“This package is carefully tailored to address the need of New York to protect people from gun violence,” said Sen. Brian Kavanagh, D-Manhattan, the sponsor of several of the bills.
“We carefully balanced the rights and interests of gun owners against the government’s interest in protecting people.”
The “Extreme Risk Protection Order”
The “Red Flag” bill would allow police, family and household members, and designated school officials to seek a court order requiring a person likely to harm themselves or others to relinquish any firearms.
For the order to be granted, the court must:
Find that there is probable cause to believe the respondent is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to himself, herself, or others, as defined in paragraph one or two of subdivision (a) of section 9.39 of the mental hygiene law.
And if the order is granted, the person would be “prohibited from purchasing, attempting to purchase, or possessing a firearm, rifle or shotgun for up to one year, subject to renewal.”
The ban could be renewed past one year if the petitioner gets the court to approve an extension within 60 days of the expiration of the existing order.
But the person who had their guns taken away can appeal the initial order and any extension.
Preventing teachers from being armed in schools
Democrats in the state Legislature on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, called for stronger gun-control laws in New York.
Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau
“Authorizing anyone other than a security officer, school resource officer, or law enforcement officer to carry a firearm on school grounds.”
Current law lets schools give written authorization to allow anyone to carry a firearm on school grounds or on school buses. The legislation would limit that authority only to safety officials in schools.
Supporters said the measure is needed following calls by President Donald Trump and others suggesting that teachers should be allowed to be armed — suggestions made in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018.
“The gun-safety legislation we will be considering next week is a comprehensive set of common-sense bills designed to get dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, while ensuring that we do not enact misguided and reckless proposals like arming classroom teachers,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Todd Kaminsky, D-Nassau County.
Background check expansion
Legislation would allow up to 30 days for a background check to clear before a gun must be delivered to a purchaser. The current law is three days when an instant check comes back inconclusive.
“By extending the window, fewer firearms will be delivered to purchasers who are not qualified to possess them,” according to the bill.
“This would affect a small minority of gun purchasers — the vast majority of purchasers’ background checks clear within a few minutes, and almost all background checks clear within the current three days.”
The measure, supporters said, was spurred in part because of the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, when the shooter was sold a gun before the background check cleared.
Barring 3D guns
New York would prohibit “the possession, manufacturing, sale, and distribution” of guns that cannot be detected by standard metal detectors, including 3D printed guns.
Lawmakers are also considering a bill that would ban the dissemination of instructions on how to make 3D printed guns.
“Guns that cannot be detected by metal detectors have become more problematic with the rise of at-home 3D printing,” the bill states.
The bill would make it a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison, for possession of non-metal or undetectable guns and a Class D felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison, for manufacturing or selling non-metal or undetectable guns.
Banning bump stocks
Gun owner Steven Straub demonstrates the difference between shooting an AR-15 without a bump stock and shooting an AR-15 with a bump stock.
Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel
New York wants to establish criminal penalties for the sale and manufacturing of devices that can increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic weapons, known as bump stocks.
The mechanisms became well know after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas because the gunman used a bump stock, effectively turning a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun.
New York law already made it illegal to attach a bump stock to a weapon. But state law doesn’t make it illegal “to purchase, possess, sell, or distribute bump stocks.”
“Thus, they are not difficult to come by, and could easily be added to a legal weapon,” the Senate bill states.
The Senate has two bills on the measure, each of which would bolster criminal penalties for owning or selling bump stocks.
This bill would direct State Police to devise rules and regulations for local gun buyback programs, as well as establishing a fund to be used for rewards
The goal would be to standardize gun buyback programs across New York and establish best practices, supporters said.
“We are taking action that will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, ensure safe storage of guns, keep our schools safer and give law enforcement the proper tools to help stop this growing gun crime epidemic,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, in a statement.
“I hope our action in New York will spur others across the country and in Washington.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, about his gun-control proposals
Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief
Lawmakers plan to enact criminal penalties for failure to safely store a firearm.
The penalties under the bill would range from a violation to a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.
Gun dealers would also need to notify buyers of safe-storage requirements; they could face a misdemeanor if they fail to do so.
They would also have to post a sign about the safe-storage law.
The penal law would be updated so that any gun owner with children under age 16 or who lives with a person barred from possession of a gun would have to securely lock their weapons.
That would include:
“An appropriate safe storage depository or (having the weapon) rendered it incapable of being fired by use of a gun locking device appropriate to that weapon.”
Mental health records
New York authorities would be able to review the mental-health records of out-of-state applicants for gun permits in New York.
The bill is the result of a state Court of Appeals ruling that held that out-of-state applicants for gun permits in New York did not have to provide their out-of-state mental health records.
Gun-control groups said that creates a loophole in state law that could let a person with a disqualifying mental health condition from another state get a gun permit in New York.
Read or Share this story: https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2019/01/25/new-gun-control-laws-in-new-york/2676403002/