Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris And Democratic Majority Pass Crucial Gun Safety Bills In Wake Of Buffalo And Texas Mass Shootings

ALBANY, N.Y. – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris announced the State Senate passed a gun violence legislation aimed at reducing the number of dangerous weapons on our streets. Bills include strengthening the “Red Flag” law, mandating microstamping for new guns, requiring purchasers of semiautomatic weapons to be 21 years old, and requiring law enforcement agencies to share information about firearms used in crimes. 

“The federal government has not taken meaningful action to combat gun violence, but our New York State Senate is filling the void by passing these bills. I am proud we are taking serious steps to tackle this critical issue,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “We must keep our communities safe and prevent guns from taking more lives.”

Earlier this week, Senator Gianaris also met with Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter was killed in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. They discussed more ways to work together to protect children in schools and address the scourge of mass shootings. Photos from their meeting at the state Capitol are available here.  

Senator Gianaris has been a longtime proponent of stricter gun safety laws, including writing portions of the post-Newtown shooting SAFE Act and recently passing a law requiring New York State to publish a quarterly report about the origins of guns used in crimes. According to a 2015 analysis by the New York Times, two-thirds of guns used in crimes in New York were imported from other states.

The legislation passed by the Senate Majority includes: 

  • Permit to Purchase a Semi-Automatic Rifle: This bill S.9458, sponsored by Senator Kevin Thomas, would establish a permit to purchase or take possession of semiautomatic rifles without affecting currently-owned semi-automatic rifles. Permits are only available to people over the age of 21, and require a safety course and background checks. 
  • Establishing New Crimes of Mass Harm: This bill, S89B, sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky establishes the crime of making a threat of mass harm and aggravated threat of mass harm. This legislation clearly defines the criminality of those threats. 
  • Act to Microstamp Ammunition: This bill, S4116A, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, requires semiautomatic pistols manufactured or delivered to any licensed dealer in this state to be capable of microstamping ammunition.
  • Strengthening Background Checks: This bill, S4970A, sponsored by Senator Brian Kavanagh, requires the creation and imposition of restrictive commercial practices and stringent recordkeeping and reporting to prevent gun and ammunition sales to individuals with a criminal record. Additionally, the bill requires firearms recovered by law enforcement to be reported to the criminal gun clearinghouse within 24 hours. 
  • Bolstering Extreme Risk Protection Orders: This bill, S9113A, sponsored by Senator James Skoufis, authorizes certain health care providers to apply for an extreme risk protection order against a patient. The bill also requires police and district attorneys to apply for an extreme risk protection order if there is probable cause that a person poses a threat.
  • Penalizing Large Capacity Ammo and Feeding Devices: This bill, S9229A, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman adjusts the definition of large capacity ammunition feeding device for purposes of the offense of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree; and repeals section 265.36 of the penal law.
  • Act to Regulate Body Armor: This bill, S9407B, sponsored by Senator Brian Kavanagh, prohibits the unlawful purchase and the unlawful sale or delivery of a body vest.
  • Improving the Definition of Firearm: This bill, S9456, sponsored by Senator Luis Sepulveda adds to the definition of a firearm; provides that the term firearm shall also include any other weapon that is not otherwise defined containing any component that provides housing or a structure designed to hold or integrate any fire control component that is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by action of explosive.
  • Reporting Hateful Social Media: This bill, S.4511A, sponsored by Senator Anna Kaplan, requires social media networks to provide and maintain mechanisms for reporting hateful conduct on their platform.
  • Task Force on Social Media and Violent Extremism: This bill, S.9465, Sponsored by Senator Jamaal Bailey, creates a new Task Force on Social Media and Violent Extremism in the Attorney General's office to study and investigate the role of social media companies in promoting and facilitating violent extremism and domestic terrorism online.

Deborah Alexander, Vice President of CEC 30 said, “When there is gridlock and obstinance in Washington, we trust and rely on our state and local elected officials, like Senator Gianaris, to put our most vulnerable and valuable citizens—our children—first. Gun control is paramount to the safety and well-being of our children and NYC parents are grateful for this legislation.”

Nick Masson, PS/IS 122Q PTA President said, “I appreciate the swift response from Senator Gianaris and the NY lawmakers. We are truly at enough is enough. While Washington seems to not be able to get out of their own way, our state leaders have our children and educators best interest and safety at hand. While these are great measures, next we need to get assault weapons off the streets.”

Astoria parent Faridys Matias-Zambrana said, “Legislation towards combating gun control is a step toward preventing senseless acts of violence in our city. I’m hopeful bills like these will provide the safety our community deserves.”