ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — New York’s Senate Democratic Majority is advancing a series of bills directed at preventing gun violence. The bill package includes measures that expand safety training for gun owners, tracking gun violence data, and enhancing pre-existing gun sale laws.
According to the Rochester Police Department’s Open Data Portal, there have been 23 homicides in 2021. The legislation package being passed by the Senate majority could help the city curb future gun violence.
One of the bills seeks to combat violence by holding those who market and distribute the guns used in criminal activity responsible. Another seeks to improve pre-existing laws against selling guns to people with outstanding warrants.
“We must do everything we can to eliminate the scourge of violence that has cut too many lives short and devastated too many families. By enacting this important legislation, we take another step closer towards further ending gun violence,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
Firearm bills being advanced by Senate majority
- Gun Industry Liability Law– 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– would update the definition of “imitation weapon” to be consistent with the New York City Administrative Code and combat the harm incurred by realistic toy guns.
- Release of Gun Violence Data– 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– 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– 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– 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– 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– would enact a ten-day waiting period for the purchase of all firearms, and would charge any violation as a class A misdemeanor.
“This package of bills further solidifies New York’s status as a national leader in gun safety. Among other key advances, it will promote accountability in the gun industry by providing a path for civil liability for industry misconduct, something the gun lobby has long opposed. It will also prohibit untraceable ghost guns, helping protect New Yorkers from this fast-rising threat,” said David Pucino, Senior Staff Attorney for Giffords Law Center.