Senate Majority to Pass Further Measures to Prevent Gun Violence
(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Majority today, during the start of Gun Violence Awareness Month, will advance legislation to prevent gun violence and make New York’s communities safer. The package includes bills to hold those responsible for the marketing and distribution of firearms used in criminal activity, combat the dangers of imitation weapons, expand safety training for gun owners, enact measures to track gun violence data, and fund meaningful research on this crisis. Additionally, this legislation will improve the enforcement and pre-existing laws against firearm sales to individuals with outstanding warrants and creates forceful measures to eliminate the circulation of unfinished receivers and untraceable weapons.
Today’s bill package builds on the Senate Democratic Majority’s previous legislation to stand up to the corporate gun lobby and protect New Yorkers from gun violence.
“The Senate Democratic Majority, under my leadership, has prioritized ending gun violence and making our home and streets safer,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “We must do everything we can to eliminate the scourge of violence that has cut too many lives short and devastated too many families. By enacting this important legislation, we take another step closer towards further ending gun violence. I thank the sponsor for putting forth these life-saving provisions and look forward to continuing working on common-sense reforms that will keep our communities safe.”
The legislation being passed by the Senate Majority, includes:
• Gun Industry Liability Law: This bill, S.1048A, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, imposes accountability on those responsible for the illegal or unreasonable sale, manufacture, distribution, importing, or marketing of firearms that creates a public nuisance and harm to the public.
• Crackdown on Imitation Weapons: This bill, S.687, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, would update the definition of “imitation weapon” to be consistent with New York City Administrative Code and combat the harm incurred by realistic toy guns.
• Release of Gun Violence Data: This bill, S.1251, sponsored by Senator Michael Gianaris, would require the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services to release quarterly reports regarding gun violence data. This measure seeks to track whether guns obtained and used in criminal acts were acquired in states with weaker gun laws than New York’s.
• Establishing the Center for Firearm Violence Research: This bill, S.2981, sponsored by Senator Roxanne J. Persaud, would establish a Center for Firearm Violence Research to better understand the causes and manifestations of gun violence, as well as generate data-driven solutions.
• Outstanding Warrant Restrictions: This bill, S.5000B, sponsored by Senator Brian Kavanagh, would make it an explicit crime to purchase a firearm, knowing there was an active warrant out for your arrest. It would also prohibit the gifting and selling of firearms to an individual if the provider knows that the recipient has an outstanding warrant.
• Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act: This bill, S.14A, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, enacts the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act to prohibit the possession of a ghost gun by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith, and prohibit their sale entirely. Additionally, any gunsmith would be required to serialize and register all weapons in their possession.
• Amending the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act: This bill, S.13A, sponsored by Senator Anna Kaplan, amends the penal law of the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act, named for the individual who sacrificed his life in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. This act would allow the sale of unfinished receivers to be prosecuted in the first and second degree.
• Mandatory Purchase Waiting Period: This bill. S.1235, sponsored by Senator Michael Gianaris, would enact a ten day waiting period for the purchase of all firearms, and would charge any violation as a class A misdemeanor.
Senator Jamaal Bailey said, “We have seen an uptick in gun related violence in our country and our state and have worked on legislation to create measures that will curb the occurrence of gun violence. The enactment of a 10 day waiting period for the purchase of firearms, prohibiting those with active arrest warrants from purchasing guns, and banning public ownership of ghost guns ensures that firearms do not enter the hands of those who may use them to fulfill malicious intents. Increasing accountability for those involved in the manufacturing, distributing, importing, and marketing of firearms is an essential part of combatting gun violence. The illegal and unreasonable sale of firearms must be viewed as an endangerment to public safety. Our government must ensure that those involved in negligent behaviors regarding the sale of firearms are held liable. The passage of these bills will lower the occurrence of gun violence in our state and works towards making New York State a place where everyone can feel safe. I would like to thank Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins for her leadership, as well as my colleagues who sponsored the pieces of legislation included in this package.””