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Senate Republicans Vote Down Gun Safety Legislation

(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Conference today announced a legislative package to combat gun violence and protect New Yorkers. The Senate Democrats have been leaders in standing up to the corporate gun lobby, and have offered a series of common sense bills to address the repeated tragedies caused by gun violence. 

“The madness must stop. We need to get serious about gun safety and we need to take real action,” Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “Studies have proven that states, like New York, with stronger firearm safety laws, have fewer gun-caused deaths. Unfortunately, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have taken their lead from their extremist Washington allies and for years have refused to move any common sense gun laws.”

The Senate Democrats forced four bills onto the Senate floor for a vote, and the Senate Republicans voted against each measure. The bills would have implemented effective background checks, established extreme risk protection orders, and banned bump stocks in New York State. The Senate Democrats also advanced legislation to create a Firearm Violence Research Institute, which is more pressing following the Trump Administration’s and the Republican Congress’ resistance to researching gun violence.

Senate Democratic Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, who forced a vote on S.5808-A which would require effective background checks, said, “More responsible gun laws will make our communities safer, keep firearms away from dangerous people and ensure preventable tragedies do not happen. I am appalled Senate Republicans voted down the common sense measures we proposed today, including my Enhanced Background Checks Act. Senate Republicans’ twisted values put the NRA first and school children last. Senate Democrats will not stop fighting for a safer future for New York families.”

Senator Brad Hoylman, who forced a vote on S.6902 which would prohibit bump stocks and mods that increase a weapon’s rate of fire, said, “It’s reprehensible that Senate Republicans refused to even consider common sense gun law reforms today. This includes my legislation to ban the bump stock, which is still legal to own in New York, four months after its use in the worst mass shooting in US history. Since Trump and Congress refuse to act, New York must reject the NRA’s agenda and enact new gun laws to make our citizens safer.”

Senator Brian Kavanagh, who forced a vote on S.7133 which would establish extreme risk protection orders, said, “The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has once again brought America’s gun violence epidemic into focus — and even though New York has some of the best gun laws in the country, we aren’t immune. Extreme risk protection orders would build on the strong foundation of the SAFE Act and empower families and police to take action to prevent individuals likely to harm themselves or others from accessing guns. This bill can stop mass shootings, interpersonal violence, and suicide — all while protecting New Yorkers’ due process rights. It will save lives. It’s that simple. For too long, the gun industry lobby and its allies in Washington have stopped federal progress. But here in New York, we’ve stepped up before — and now we have to take decisive action once again. This bill is gaining momentum: it passed the Assembly last year, it is supported by a broad coalition this year, and just yesterday it was approved unanimously by the Democrats and Republicans on the Assembly Codes Committee. There are 28 Senator sponsors, including our co-prime sponsor, Senator Brad Hoylman. I remain committed to working with my colleagues to ensure this bill is enacted as soon as possible.”

Senator Roxanne Persaud, who forced a vote on S.4363, which would create a state Firearm Violence Research Institute, said, “Gun violence is preventable, and should not be considered as a ‘fact’ of life in the community I serve. Just days ago an eight-year-old girl in Brooklyn was rushed to the hospital and thankfully survived- the latest victim of this preventable epidemic. As elected officials, it is our duty to ensure the people we serve are safe. I am saddened that today my Republican colleagues played politics with children’s lives. The time to find a lasting solution is now, and I appeal across the aisle to my GOP colleagues to step up and do the right thing, so we can make New York safer, together.”

For more information about the Senate Democratic Conference’s ongoing efforts to advance gun safety legislation, please visit: https://www.scribd.com/document/370879401/Senate-Democrats-Keep-Guns-Away-From-Dangerous-Individuals-And-Protect-Our-Communities