legislative advocacy to reduce
gun violence since 1993

The Gun Violence Epidemic

Each year in the U.S., over 30,000 Americans are killed by gun violence – suicides, homicides and unintentional shootings–and more than 70,000 are injured. Felons, domestic abusers and the seriously mentally ill continue to have easy access to firearms and ammunition due to weak federal gun safety laws.  (See NYAGV’s Firearms Facts and Figures for details on the gun violence problem.)

NYAGV works to reduce gun violence through legislative advocacy and education designed to encourage action, influence public opinion and lead to policy change. With a primary focus on New York State and its residents, NYAGV advocates at all levels of government for laws, policies and practices that protect New Yorkers from gun violence.

Below are the sensible gun safety measures NYAGV is fighting for.


Also see the NYAGV Resources page for gun violence facts and figures and the role of guns in suicides, domestic violence, accidental shootings, child gun deaths, and more.


PROBLEM: Each year thousands of guns purchased legally make their way into the hands of criminals through straw purchasers* and corrupt dealers. Insufficient federal enforcement enables corrupt dealers to stay in business.  The U.S. Senate voted to defeat legislation to strengthen gun trafficking laws in April 2013. SOLUTION: Strengthen federal enforcement against gun dealers who skirt the law by selling to straw purchasers or disregarding background checks. TAKE ACTION: Contact Senators and representatives and tell them you won’t take no for an answer, and that you demand they strengthen gun trafficking laws. Click here to see how your Senators voted on gun trafficking legislation. *A straw purchase occurs when the actual buyer of a firearm is unable to pass the required federal background check, or does not want his or her full name associated with the purchase, and has someone else who can pass the required background check purchase the firearm for him or her.

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PROBLEM: Since the expiration of the assault weapons ban in 2004, there has been a proliferation of militarized assault weapons capable of holding 20, 30, 40, or even 100 shell casings in a single ammunition magazine. These assault weapons and high capacity magazines have been used in a number of mass shootings, including the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT. (At the Newtown shootings, Adam Lanza massacred 26 children and adults in just four minutes using a Bushmaster 223 assault rifle with 30-round magazines.) The U.S. Senate voted to defeat legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in April 2013. SOLUTION: Enact federal bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines of over 10 rounds. TAKE ACTION: Contact Senators and representatives and tell them you won’t take no for an answer, and that you demand they ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Click here to see how your Senators voted on banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

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PROBLEM:  A loophole in federal law enables dangerous individuals to avoid background checks by purchasing firearms from private sellers at gun shows and on internet gun sites that are not required to perform background checks on buyers. In addition, due to lax enforcement in some states, millions of records of mentally ill and violent offenders are currently missing from the national gun background check system. In April 2013, 45 U.S. Senators shamefully caved in to the gun lobby and voted against common sense universal background checks. By voting no, they voted against the wishes of their constituents, against public safety, and against law and order. SOLUTION:  Enact federal background checks on commercial gun sales and stronger enforcement requirements. NYAGV and other gun safety groups continue to fight in Congress to enact comprehensive criminal background checks and other gun safety measures that would prevent dangerous individuals from gaining easy access to firearms. TAKE ACTION: U.S. Senate–Contact Senators and tell them you won’t take no for an answer, and that you demand they support universal background checks. Click here for Senator Twitter handles and which Senators voted against universal background checks. U.S. House of Representatives–Urge your Congressional representative to support H.R. 1217 […]

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PROBLEM: Researchers have found that millions of children live in homes with easily accessible guns. The presence of unlocked guns in the home increases the risk of accidental gun injuries, intentional shootings and suicides. New York State currently has no law specifically penalizing a person who enables a child to access a firearm. SOLUTION: Child access prevention (CAP) laws to impose criminal liability on adults who negligently leave firearms accessible to children or otherwise allow children access to firearms. Child access prevention laws have been shown to be effective at reducing unintentional firearm deaths among children. Click here for more information on Child Access Prevention studies and laws.

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THE PROBLEM: Gun crimes provide criminals with the safety of distance and often result in fewer witnesses and less crime scene evidence than other types of crimes. The deadly threat of gun crimes also frequently instills fear of retaliation in witnesses and discourages them from coming forward. Homicides using weapons have a national clearance rate of only 61%, and f or all gun crimes, the clearance rates are even lower.  Police need every tool available to solve gun crimes and get dangerous, violent criminals off the streets. THE SOLUTION: Microstamping requirements. New York law enforcement needs every tool available to help catch dangerous criminals and make our communities safe. By tracing criminals through their guns and ammunition using an inexpensive technology called microstamping, we can help law enforcement solve crimes. Microstamping technology stamps a unique code onto shell casings every time a semi-automatic pistol is fired. The semi-automatic pistol is the gun criminals use most and the unique code provides an easy-to-follow link back to the original purchaser of the weapon.  Police officers and forensics experts use shell casings found at crime scenes to help identify suspects but without microstamping their results are very limited. Without modern forensic tools like microstamping, law […]

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