Senate Majority passes legislation to combat ‘Ghost Guns’

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Senate Democratic Majority on Wednesday advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Brad Hoylman and Anna Kaplan to strengthen the penalties and regulation of unfinished receivers and guns without serial numbers. These unfinished receivers and guns are also known as “ghost guns.”

These bills will protect New York communities against gun violence and keep unlicensed firearms out of the hands of criminals, said Hoylman and Kaplan. The senators say ghost guns are often sold as pieces that can be easily made complete with standard power tools and are widely available online. These parts are often sold with instructions, which creates a way for anyone to have an unregulated and untraceable firearm.

“Next week will mark three years since the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the Senate Democratic Majority continues to take strong action to prevent gun violence,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “These bills will help prevent the manufacturing, possession, and sale of untraceable guns — building upon our efforts to make our communities safer. I commend Senators Anna Kaplan and Brad Hoylman for their sponsorship of this important legislation.”

The legislation passed by the Senate Majority includes:

  • Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act: This bill, sponsored by Senator Anna Kaplan, will prohibit possession of unfinished receivers by anyone other than a gunsmith. Additionally, it will establish the sale of an unfinished frame or receiver as a crime of first, second, and third degree.
  • Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act: This bill, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, will criminalize the possession of  guns without serial numbers by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith, prohibit the sale of ghost guns entirely, and require anyone manufacturing or assembling a firearm in New York to be a licensed gunsmith. It also requires New York gunsmiths to serialize any firearms, rifles, shotguns, and unfinished firearm frames or receivers they  manufacture or assemble, and register those not otherwise covered under federal law with the Division of State Police.

Linda Beigel Schulman, mother of Scott Beigel, who was killed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Massacre, had this to say about the passed legislation:

On February 14, 2018, my son Scott J. Beigel was murdered during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Massacre while protecting and saving the lives of his students. Since that horrible day, I have made my life’s mission to work to protect people from senseless and preventable gun violence through the enactment of reasonable gun safety legislation. I am truly overwhelmed and humbled by the actions of Senator Anna Kaplan, Senator Brad Hoylman, and the New York State Senate today in honoring Scott with the passage of Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act. The Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act addresses the latest continuing threat from gun violence, Ghost Guns. Ghost Guns are untraceable firearms. The only person who would purchase a Ghost Gun is someone who cannot pass a background check.

Senator Anna Kaplan is by far one of the most honest, dedicated and caring individuals we have working for us in our government. My sentiments are not because this bill is named in honor of my son Scott. My sentiments come from working with and knowing the person, Anna Kaplan. Anna Kaplan fights for what she believes in. Anna Kaplan fights for the good for all of us. Anna Kaplan fights for what she knows will keep us all safe from totally unnecessary and preventable gun violence. We all need to give thanks to Senator Anna Kaplan for her caring, listening, and continuous fighting, against all odds, for all of us. That being said, this legislation is only the first step. When passed by the New York State Assembly and signed by Governor Cuomo, this legislation will save lives. This legislation will help keep us all safe from senseless and preventable gun violence.