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Sikh Massacre In Wisconsin Bolsters Call for Tighter Gun Control In New York

In the wake of Sunday’s massacre at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and the July mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, State Sen. Michael Gianaris is introducing a series of bills aimed at strengthening New York State’s gun control laws.

As described, the package of bills is based on criteria established by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which ranks each state according to the strength of its gun control laws. Currently, New York ranks fourth in the country. The passage of Gianaris’ package of bills, however, would make New York first in the nation for having the toughest gun control laws, according to the lawmaker.

“The recent rash of gun violence makes clear that enough is enough. It is long past time to improve our gun laws and New York should lead the way,” Gianaris said. “With the enactment of these sensible gun laws, New York will establish itself as the nation’s leader in combating gun violence. I will continue to push hard until we get results and make the streets safer.”

In New York City alone, the senator pointed out, the number of shootings have increased by 12 percent from the beginning of this year through early July, compared to the same time last year.

According to New York State law, firearms do not include weapons used for hunting or sport but are defined as a pistol, revolver, and so-called “sawed off” shotgun or rifle.

The bills Gianaris is proposing would:

– limit the purchase of a firearm to one per month and limit a firearm dealer from selling a firearm to any individual who has purchased such a weapon within the previous 30 days;

– establish a universal background check to close a loophole in firearm sales and require background checks for all gun sales, even transactions between private sellers and buyers;

– require prospective purchasers to obtain a firearm safety certificate, which can only be acquired after the successful completion of a safety training course that includes live firing, a safehandling demonstration and a written test of firearm laws;

– impose a 10-day waiting period to the sale of a firearm in order to give law enforcement officials enough time to perform a thorough background check of the prospective owner (this would also allow for a “cooling-off” period to help guard against impulsive acts of violence); and

– close several gaps in the regulation of firearms and sale of ammunition, including requiring dealer permits to sell firearms, rifles, shotguns and ammunition, require insurance for permitted dealers and mandating dealers to report all firearm and ammunition sales within 24 hours to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (records of all sales must be kept on file by the state for at least 10 years).

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