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Photo via Pxhere
Photo via Pxhere

Convicted domestic violence offenders throughout New York state will be barred from buying and owning all firearms under new legislation.

The Domestic Violence Escalation Prevention Act prohibits any individual convicted of a domestic violence crime from purchasing or possessing handguns or any other firearm. The bill passed the New York State Legislature last week and has the support of the Governor Andrew Cuomo. The act will take effect 60 days after it is officially signed into law.

The legislation creates a new requirement that the court order the surrender of all firearms following a conviction of a felony or serious offense, including domestic violence misdemeanors. It also establishes a process for notifying the FBI of domestic violence convictions and prevents individuals with an outstanding warrant for a felony or serious offense crime, including a domestic violence misdemeanor, from being eligible for a firearms license.

Flushing-based Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, who was one of the Queens lawmakers who backed the legislation, noted that most mass shooters target their loved ones or have a history of family violence. In nine of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, she continued, the shooter had a known history of harassing, threatening or abusing women.

“With nearly three women murdered every day by an intimate partner, it is clear that one of the critical steps in preventing these brutal tragedies is making sure abusers don’t have access to guns,” Rozic said. “One needs to look no further than the startling statistics to understand why we needed to take action and I am proud to have co-sponsored legislation that fills loopholes in the law that have put lives at risk for far too long.”

Cuomo announced his support for the legislation as part of his 2018 Women’s Agenda, which also included measures to combat sexual harassment in the workplace and increase child care funding.

“The recent wave of mass shootings is horrifying, and the federal government’s failure to act on any form of meaningful gun safety laws is unconscionable,” Cuomo said in a statement on March 31. “New York is once again leading the way to prevent gun violence, and with this common-sense reform, break the inextricable link between gun violence and domestic violence. This legislation builds on our gun laws — already the strongest in the nation — to make New York safer and stronger.”

In 2016, firearms were used in 35 domestic homicides in New York, according to data released by the Division of Criminal Justice Services.

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