2013 State Legislativxe Agenda
Require Universal Background Checks on the Sale of all Guns
- Problem: Although New York law requires background checks for gun purchases from licensed dealers and unlicensed dealers at gun shows, private sales of guns that are not connected to gun shows are still not subject to background checks.
- Solution: Require purchasers of all firearms and long guns from private sellers to be subject to a background check through a licensed firearms dealer.
Strengthen Assault Weapons Ban
- Problem: Although assault weapons are banned under New York law, manufacturers have exploited loopholes in existing law by altering the design of these militarized assault weapons with high capacity magazines and rapid fire capability. Such weapons have been used in major mass shootings, including Tucson and most recently in Newtown, CT.
- Solution: Strengthen the assault weapons ban by replacing the definition of an “assault weapon” with a new definition that relies on a one characteristic test of the weapon rather than a two characteristic test and include a provision for Superintendent of State Police/AG to review new guns and be able to add ones to the list of banned assault weapons. Also, ban both the possession and sale of such weapons.
Strengthen the Ban on High Capacity Ammunition Magazines
- Problem: Although high capacity ammunition magazines are currently banned along with assault weapons there is an exception for those manufactured prior to the ban. It is impossible to differentiate such magazines from new ones.
- Solution: Strengthen the high capacity ammunition ban by banning both the possession and sale of such magazines that hold over 10 bullets.
Microstamping Legislation to Help Law Enforcement Solve Gun Crimes
- Problem: Thousands of homicides and shootings throughout the state remain unsolved because the only evidence left behind at the crime scene is shell casings ejected from a gun when it is fired.
- Solution: Microstamping legislation would require handguns sold in New York to be equipped with a new technology that imprints a unique code on to the shell casings every time a gun is fired. The code gives law enforcement the ability to link back to the original purchaser of the weapon—a critical piece of information that can make the difference between a cold case and putting a criminal behind bars.
Require Gun Licenses to be Renewed Every 5 Years
- Problem: In counties outside of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island, handgun licenses remain valid for life, even if the owner is no longer competent to use or own guns, and NYS currently does not require a license for long guns. As we saw in the 2009 Binghamton mass shooting, which claimed the lives of 13 people, failing to require renewal of licenses can have deadly consequences. In addition, many crimes in NY are conducted with long guns.
- Solution: Pass legislation to require 5 year renewable licenses for all handguns and long guns and require an applicant to undergo a background check, restate important information about their eligibility to possess handguns and long guns, and report the number of guns that they possess to ensure licensees remain qualified to use and possess handguns and long guns over time.
Improve Gun Dealer Regulations
- Problem: Research has shown that states with strong gun dealer regulations have fewer guns that end up in the illegal market and are used in crimes than states with weaker gun dealer regulations. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 1% of gun dealers are responsible for nearly 60% of crime guns nationally.
- Solution: Pass legislation to require responsible gun dealer business practices, stringent record keeping and reporting to prevent gun sales to criminals. Responsible commercial practices include reporting of lost or stolen firearms to local law enforcement and securing inventory to prevent thefts. Firearms dealers should also conduct employee training to detect straw purchasing.
Employee Background Checks
- Problem: Under current law, licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct criminal background checks on prospective purchasers of guns. However, while the dealers themselves are required to be licensed, their employees, who have access to the guns on a daily basis, are not required to undergo any type of background check.
- Solution: Legislation to require firearms dealers to conduct background checks on all employees who handle or sell guns.
Ammunition Sales Regulation
- Problem: Those who have illegal guns can easily purchase ammunition even from licensed firearms dealers with no questions asked. Current federal and state laws require dealers to maintain records of sales and perform inventories of guns, but do not have similar requirements for ammunition.
- Solution: Require ammunition retailers to conduct background checks on ammunition buyers and implement security requirements.
One Gun a Month
- Problem: Multiple firearms purchases are associated with illegal gun trafficking. It is estimated that approximately 20% of crime guns were purchased in multiple gun sale.
- Solution: Pass legislation to prohibit the purchase of more than one handgun per individual within a 30-day period