Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) announced this week that he helped pass legislation to prevent and reduce gun violence in New York.
The legislative package includes measures to ban bump stocks, prevent individuals determined to be a danger to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing firearms, and establish a longer waiting period before delivery of a purchased firearm to a person who has not cleared a background check.
“Despite tragedy after tragedy, the federal government refuses to take action to protect Americans from gun violence. Thankfully, the New York State Assembly has passed common sense legislation which bans bump stocks, extends the waiting period to purchase a firearm, and prevents dangerous individuals from possessing a gun. I urge the New York State Senate to pass these bills as soon as possible,” said Braunstein.
One piece of legislation passed by the Assembly prohibits the possession, manufacture, transport, shipment and sale of devices that accelerate the firing rate of firearms so they operate in the same manner as machine guns, including trigger cranks and bump-fire devices.
Under current state law, attaching such a device to a firearm is illegal because once attached, the weapon is considered a machine gun. However, there is no restriction on the sale or possession of bump stocks or other similar devices that are not attached to a firearm.
This type of firearm modification enabled a single gunman to kill 58 people and injure over 500 in the October 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting. Using bump stocks on two separate weapons, the individual responsible was able to fire more than 1,100 rounds in approximately 10 minutes.
“This horrifying level of violence shows why bump stocks should immediately be banned,” said Assemblyman Braunstein.
Legislation was also passed to establish a waiting period of 10 days – instead of the current three days – before a gun may be delivered to a purchaser whose background check is not completed. Under current federal law, gun dealers must conduct a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) before selling a firearm. The NICS system responds with one of three messages – “proceed,” “denied” or “delayed.”
The dealer must deny the sale if the NICS background check determines the buyer is a prohibited purchaser and responds with a “denied” message. However, if the response is “delayed,” the dealer may nonetheless complete the sale after three business days. In these cases, the FBI continues to investigate whether the person is an eligible purchaser beyond the three-day period even though the person has likely already been sold the firearm.
According to the FBI, more than 15,000 gun sales went forward between 2010 and 2014 to individuals who were prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm because the determination whether to deny or proceed could not be made within three business days.
“An extended waiting period is a common sense approach which would help ensure that an individual has cleared a background check before he or she is able to purchase a gun,” said Assemblyman Braunstein.
Legislation was also passed to establish the ability of a court to issue a restraining order, known as an “extreme risk protection order,” prohibiting a person who exhibits serious signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm for up to one year. The petitioner, who could be a family member or law enforcement officer, would be required to file a sworn application describing the circumstances and justification for the request.
Following a hearing, the court could grant the order if there is a finding that there is reasonable cause to believe the individual in question is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to him or herself or others. In emergency circumstances, the court would also be authorized to issue a temporary order restricting access to firearms pending a final hearing.
Under the existing appeals procedure provided in the civil practice laws and rules, individuals would be permitted to appeal a court’s decision to issue an extreme risk protection order. They would also be entitled to submit a request, at any time while the order is in place, for a hearing to discontinue the order based on a change of circumstances and a showing that he or she no longer poses a danger.
“This legislation will help to prevent suicides, domestic violence incidents, and potentially even mass shootings,” said Braunstein.”
To further help keep guns out of the wrong hands, the legislative package includes the Domestic Violence Escalation Prevention Act, which would prevent domestic violence abusers from having access to weapons by prohibiting an individual who has been convicted of a domestic violence crime from purchasing or possessing a firearm .
“More than half of all female homicide victims in the United States are murdered by an intimate partner, with nearly three women killed every day. One step in preventing further tragedies is ensuring that their abusers don’t have a gun,” said Braunstein.
Another measure passed by the Assembly requires out-of-state citizens who also have homes in New York to waive the confidentiality of their home state mental illness records when applying for a firearm here.
“We must close this dangerous loophole so that background checks are more effective at flagging individuals who have a history of harmful mental illness,” said Braunstein.