(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Majority today, during the start of Gun Violence Awareness Month, will advance legislation to prevent gun violence and make New York’s communities safer. The package includes bills to hold those responsible for the marketing and distribution of firearms used in criminal activity, combat the dangers of imitation weapons, expand safety training for gun owners, enact measures to track gun violence data, and fund meaningful research on this crisis. Additionally, this legislation will improve the enforcement and pre-existing laws against firearm sales to individuals with outstanding warrants and creates forceful measures to eliminate the circulation of unfinished receivers and untraceable weapons.
Today’s bill package builds on the Senate Democratic Majority's previous legislation to stand up to the corporate gun lobby and protect New Yorkers from gun violence.
Bill sponsor Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “If you can’t pass a background check to get a gun, then you shouldn’t be able to get a gun, period. The unfinished receiver loophole lets anyone get their hands on the parts needed to build an untraceable, unregistered AR-15 without ever going through a background check, and with gun violence surging across the country, now is the time to take action to close dangerous loopholes that needlessly put the safety of New Yorkers at risk.”
The legislation being passed by the Senate Majority, includes:
- Gun Industry Liability Law: This bill, S.1048A, sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie, imposes accountability on those responsible for the illegal or unreasonable sale, manufacture, distribution, importing, or marketing of firearms that creates a public nuisance and harm to the public.
- Crackdown on Imitation Weapons: This bill, S.687, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, would update the definition of “imitation weapon” to be consistent with New York City Administrative Code and combat the harm incurred by realistic toy guns.
- Release of Gun Violence Data: This bill, S.1251, sponsored by Senator Michael Gianaris, would require the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services to release quarterly reports regarding gun violence data. This measure seeks to track whether guns obtained and used in criminal acts were acquired in states with weaker gun laws than New York’s.
- Establishing the Center for Firearm Violence Research: This bill, S.2981, sponsored by Senator Roxanne J. Persaud, would establish a Center for Firearm Violence Research to better understand the causes and manifestations of gun violence, as well as generate data-driven solutions.
- Outstanding Warrant Restrictions: This bill, S.5000B, sponsored by Senator Brian Kavanagh, would make it an explicit crime to purchase a firearm, knowing there was an active warrant out for your arrest. It would also prohibit the gifting and selling of firearms to an individual if the provider knows that the recipient has an outstanding warrant.
- Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act: This bill, S.14A, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, enacts the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act to prohibit the possession of a ghost gun by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith, and prohibit their sale entirely. Additionally, any gunsmith would be required to serialize and register all weapons in their possession.
- Amending the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act: This bill, S.13A, sponsored by Senator Anna Kaplan, amends the penal law of the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act, named for the individual who sacrificed his life in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. This act would allow the sale of unfinished receivers to be prosecuted in the first and second degree.
- Mandatory Purchase Waiting Period: This bill. S.1235, sponsored by Senator Michael Gianaris, would enact a ten day waiting period for the purchase of all firearms, and would charge any violation as a class A misdemeanor.
The Senate Majority's diverse, multi-point legislation is an approach that addresses gun violence data, research, and waiting periods, as well as gun manufacturers. Gun manufacturers have not come to the table to adequately address their responsibility in this crisis or to address the concerns raised by the public about the use of guns and the devastating impact on countless communities. The New York Senate Majority's gun violence prevention bills are a step in the right direction to do so. The legislation is also an opportunity to shed more light on the complexities of how and where guns are acquired.