ALBANY - State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx/Westchester) and the Democratic Senate Majority passed major legislation this week to combat gun violence. The Bronx makes up most of the Senator’s district, and has the second-highest rate of homicides caused by firearms in New York State.
“If thousands of people, including children and young adults, were dying year after year from some disease, we would spare no expense to find a cure. But for gun violence we are told there is no cure, except more guns. That is literally insane. Well, no more here in New York. Today we are passing sensible rules to ensure that people who should not have a gun, will not have a gun. Only trained safety officers should have guns in schools. We reject the idea that our societal goal should be an armed teacher in every classroom. Our goal has to be a day when we no longer need armed safety officers in our schools because there are no more school shootings. Our actions today won’t get us all the way there. But they are a step in the right direction,” said Biaggi.
Linda Biegel Schulman and her husband Michael Schulman thanked the Senate outside the chambers on Tuesday. Since their son died in the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018, they have been been campaigning for gun reform nationally.
“In times of great sadness, it’s the strength and solidarity of those suffering that has the power to transform tragedy into great progress. The importance of sharing these historic bills with the Biegel-Schulman family, whose son Scott tragically lost his life in the Parkland shooting, is what this work is all about,” said Biaggi.
The historic legislation passed by the Senate Democratic includes:
- Extreme Risk Protection Orders: S.2451 allows law enforcement officials, family and household members, and certain school officials to seek a court order requiring a person likely to harm themselves or others to relinquish any firearms in their possession. Too often guns are used in domestic violence situations. This law would make it possible to take guns away from anyone threatening domestic violence.
- Effective Background Check Act: S.2374, establishes an extension of up to thirty calendar days for national instant background checks. This will make it less likely that someone can buy a gun before the background check is completed.
- Bump Stock Ban: S.2448, prohibits the possession of the “bump stock,” which turns a gun into an automatic weapon.
- Preventing School Districts from Allowing Teachers to be Armed: S.101A, prevents K-12 schools from authorizing anyone other than a security officer, school resource officer, or law enforcement officer to carry a firearm on school grounds. This prevents the proposal pushed by some that the solution is to give teachers guns.
- Gun Buy-Backs: S.2449, directs the State Police to devise regulations for gun buyback programs so that all buyback programs across the state are operated consistently with uniform best practices. Gun buyback programs reduce the number of guns in circulation.
- Out of State Mental Health Records: S.2438, will require out-of-state applicants for gun permits to allow New York permitting authorities to review out-of-state mental health records.