Governor Hochul Signs Legislation Package to Fight Gun Violence Epidemic

Legislation S.14A/A.613A Enacts Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act; Criminalizes the Sale of Ghost Guns and Requires Gunsmiths to Register Firearms and Unfinished Frames or Receivers They Assemble

Legislation S.7152/A.6522 Amends Definition of 'Disguised Gun' to Include Weapons Designed to Appear as Toys

Governor Kathy Hochul today signed a package of legislation to combat the gun violence epidemic and to address the scourge of ghost guns in New York communities. Legislation S.13A/A.2666A prohibits the possession of unfinished frames or receivers by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or dealer in firearms. Legislation S.14A/A.613A prohibits the sale of ghost guns and requires gunsmiths and dealers in firearms to register firearms in their possession. Legislation S.7152/A.6522 adds firearms designed to resemble toys to the definition of a 'disguised gun.'

"Gun violence is a public health and public safety crisis that must be dealt with aggressively," said Governor Hochul. "Working with partners at all levels, my administration will continue to crack down on the distribution and possession of dangerous weapons and put an end to the gun violence epidemic."

Legislation S.13A/A.2666A prohibits the possession and sale of unfinished frames or receivers by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or dealer in firearms. Unfinished receivers are used to form the lower part of a firearm and can be easily combined with other pieces, even by someone with little experience, to make a fully functioning semi-automatic weapon. It also prohibits the possession and sale of unserializedfinished frames and receivers by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or dealer in firearms.

"If you can't pass a background check to get a gun, then you shouldn't be able to get a gun--period. For too long, the unfinished receiver loophole let anyone get their hands on all the parts needed to build an untraceable, unregistered AR-15 without ever going through a background check, but today, we're taking historic action here in New York to close that dangerous loophole for good" said Senator Anna M. Kaplan. "I'm proud to be the sponsor of the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act because I know it's going to save lives, just like Scott Beigel did when he gave his life to protect his students from gunfire during the attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I'm grateful for my partners in this effort, Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Chuck Lavine, and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, each of whom have shown extraordinary leadership to make sure our state is combating the scourge of gun violence. And most importantly, I want to thank Scott Beigel's parents Linda and Michael, for never giving up the fight to ensure that our communities are safe from gun violence." 

"Amidst an epidemic of gun violence plaguing the United States, I commend my good friend Governor Kathy Hochul for supporting and signing this bill which I sponsored in the Assembly," said Assemblymember Charles Lavine. "It is incumbent upon the states to enact common-sense reforms that close dangerous loopholes that allow untraceable weapons to flood our communities.  This new law further strengthens New York's existing gun safety laws, already among the toughest in the country.  It also significantly increases protection to our community and our children by creating much more accountability.  It is intended, just as Scott intended, to save lives." 

Legislation S.14A/A.613A prohibits the sale of ghost guns and requires gunsmiths and dealers in firearms to register and serialize firearms and unfinished frames or receivers they possess. Ghost guns are guns that are unregistered and do not have serial numbers, making them incredibly difficult for law enforcement to trace. These weapons often end up in the hands of purchasers with a criminal record or others who would not pass a required federal background check.

"In the last three years, we've seen a 479% increase in ghost gun seizures across the state," said Senator Brad Hoylman. "Thanks to the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act being signed today we're addressing this growing problem by banning the sale and possession of ghost guns, so nobody will be able to purchase these firearms without first passing a background check. I'm deeply grateful for the advocacy and support of Jose Webster's sister, Nathalie Arzu, along with Assembly Member Rosenthal, Senator Kaplan, Assembly Member Levine, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Governor Hochul for their leadership on this important issue."

"Ghost guns have exploded in popularity as people have taken to the internet to evade New York's strong laws requiring background checks and licensing, to gain access to deadly weapons they can construct in the comfort and privacy of their own homes," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. "Closing the ghost gun loophole by signing the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act, along with the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receivers Act, will help to keep our communities safe. Thank you to Governor Hochul for signing these bills into law. I look forward to working with the Executive to passing more legislation to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence in the future."

Legislation S.7152/A.6522 adds firearms capable of being concealed and designed to resemble toys to the definition of a 'disguised gun' and prohibits their manufacture, design, or sale. Weapons capable of causing severe injury and death but that resemble toys are unjustifiably deceptive, and pose a clear threat to the safety of both children, who may mistake them for actual toys, and the public at large.  

"The gun violence epidemic has stolen the lives of so many in our state and country, and we have only seen the problem grow worse in recent years," said Senator John Brooks. "Common sense measures like this legislation to crackdown on disguised guns are critical to protecting New Yorkers. No one should live in fear of gun violence, not when walking down the street, serving our communities in law enforcement, while learning at schools, spending time at home, or anywhere else. I am thankful to local law enforcement for the support they provided in getting this bipartisan bill passed and I applaud Governor Hochul for her continued effort to keep New Yorkers safe." 

"I am proud to sponsor this critically important legislation that will prohibit the design, manufacture and possession of disguised guns in New York State," said Assemblymember Steve Stern. "These weapons put our law enforcement personnel at a dangerous disadvantage in situations when they are facing down the barrel of a gun and have a split second to decide if it is a toy or a real weapon, a split second that could make the difference between life or death. This legislation will protect our entire community and save lives.  I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for their bi-partisan support of this legislation and applaud Governor Hochul's strong leadership on this important issue."

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