By Steven Goodstein
A Bayside assemblyman’s bill passed again this week to eliminate gun violence and help ensure the safety of individuals.
State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) announced Tuesday that a strengthened version of his bill, which passed in March, made it through the Assembly again to prevent mass shootings, domestic violence homicides gun suicides and any violence involving firearms.
To become law the bill must go to the Republican-controlled state Senate, where it must be introduced and then face an uphill battle to be passed.
According to Braunstein, the measure would establish extreme risk protection orders to keep guns out of the hands of people who have previously demonstrated behavior that is a serious threat to society. The orders would prevent the subject from buying or possession a firearm for up to a year.
The legislation also gives courts the ability to issue a restraining order (or a risk protection order) against a person who has exhibited serious signs of being a threat to themselves or others.
On the revised version, school officials, including teachers and counselors, have been added to the list of individuals who are eligible to petition for the protection order.
The fine-tuning of the bill recognizes the fact that school teachers and counselors are often among the first to witness the initial warning signs and red flags that eventually lead to school shootings.
“All too frequently, we are hearing reports of disturbed individuals using guns to take innocent lives,” Braunstein said. “We need to be taking real action to combat this growing problem, and one of the most significant steps we can take is making sure that people who exhibit clear warning signs do not have access to guns.”
The court can also issue a temporary order in emergency scenarios, which would restrict an individual’s access to firearms pending the final hearing.
“Thoughts and prayers will never be enough – they will not bring victims back and they will not keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” Braunstein added. “Too many lives have been lost to gun violence and this legislation is an important step toward protecting New Yorkers from harm.”
Braunstein has spoken about eliminating gun violence on several occasions this year, including at a North Shore Towers Political Action Committee-led rally last month as well as at the Jefferson Democratic Club monthly meeting on Thursday, June 7.
The Domestic Violence Escalation Prevention Act, which prohibits convicted individuals from purchasing or possessing firearms, was passed earlier this year in the Assembly. Legislation was also passed to ban all enhancements, including trigger cranks and bump-fire devices that accelerate the firing rate of firearms, in the lower House.
Reach Steven Goodstein by e-mail at sgood