By Bill Parry
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his support for the Effective Background Checks Act Tuesday, a measure authored by state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) which would extend the time for a check to be completed from the current three days to 10 days before a firearm could be transferred.
“I am proud to carry the Effective Background Checks Act and I am appreciative of Gov. Cuomo’s support,” Gianaris said. “This common sense proposal would save lives by keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals. I urge my colleagues to pass this legislation before the end of this session to ensure more preventable tragedies do not occur.”
Cuomo’s announcement came after he signed legislation to remove guns from domestic abusers and close a loophole in state law that will ensure domestic abusers are required to surrender all firearms, not just handguns.
“In a time when gun violence continues to relentlessly torment communities across the country while our federal government refuses to act, New York must lead the charge to end this epidemic once and for all,” Cuomo said. “With this legislation, we can sever the undeniable connection between domestic abuse and deadly gun violence, and continue to build upon the strongest gun laws in the nation.”
New York law had narrowly prohibited the possession of firearms for individuals either convicted of a felony or a limited number of misdemeanor “serious” offenses, excluding many misdemeanor offenses that are undeniably serious. The bill Cuomo signed expands the list of “serious” crimes that require the loss of a gun license and the surrender of all firearms to ensure no domestic abuser in New York retains the ability to possess a firearm once convicted of a disturbing crime.
“We know that individuals with a history of domestic violence are five times more likely to murder an intimate partner when a firearm is in the house,” U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) said. “This bill, to remove guns from domestic abusers, is just commonsense.”
Meanwhile, Gianaris introduced new legislation Monday mandating the Department of Criminal Justice Services establish a database tracking the state and county of origin of guns used in crimes in New York. This proposal would tackle the so-called “Iron Pipeline,” whereby guns purchased in states with lax gun laws are brought into New York and used in crimes, according to Gianaris.
“Stopping the ‘Iron Pipeline’ is possible if New York leads the way,” he said. “Despite having among the toughest gun laws in the country, our state experiences too many gun-related crimes due to firearms originating elsewhere. While the federal government will not take action to combat gun violence, New York should use data to expose states that are part of the problem.”
State Attorney Eric Schneiderman released a report in 2015 that found 74 percent of all guns used in New York crimes and recovered by police originated out of state, including 86 percent of handguns used in crimes. Gianaris’ new measure drew immediate support from Cuomo.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr