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Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Braunstein's office
State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein.

A Queens lawmaker is working to reduce gun violence by backing the first gun control bills since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.

Assemblyman Ed Braunstein announced yesterday that members of the state assembly and senate recently helped to pass comprehensive gun control legislation for New York state.

The legislative package includes passing the “red flag” bill, allowing the court to issue an extreme risk protection order (ERPO), which prevents those who are “determined to be a threat” to themselves or others from possessing or purchasing firearms for one year.

“Despite mass shooting after mass shooting, the federal government still refuses to pass commonsense legislation to protect Americans from gun violence,” said Braunstein. “Thankfully, the Assembly and Senate have joined together to protect New Yorkers by preventing dangerous individuals from possessing a gun, banning bump stocks, and extending the waiting period to purchase a firearm.”

Braunstein was among the majority of state Assembly members who helped pass the “red flag” bill. Under the bill, a petitioner, who could be a family member, school administrator or law enforcement officer, is required to file a sworn application that justifies why they are filing for a request.

After an initial hearing, a temporary ERPO may be granted if the individual is thought to be a serious threat. A final one-year ERPO may then be issued at a subsequent hearing.

“All too frequently, disturbed individuals use guns to take innocent lives,” Braunstein said. “We are taking real action to combat this growing problem by passing the red flag bill, which will help make sure that people who exhibit clear warning signs do not have access to guns. Far too many lives have already been lost to gun violence and this legislation is a vital step toward protecting New Yorkers from harm.”

Lawmakers also extended the waiting period from three days to 30 days for individuals trying to purchase a gun before they have passed a background check. Federal law states that gun dealers are required to conduct background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Following the check, a person’s check is either “approved,” “denied” or “delayed.” “Delayed” responses must be completed after three business days if another “denied” response is not received.

“This extended waiting period will ensure that an individual has cleared a background check before he or she is able to purchase a gun. The waiting period is a common sense approach, considering that the FBI has suggested that more time be given to investigate ‘delayed’ responses,” said Braunstein.

The Assembly and Senate also passed legislation that prohibits the possession, manufacture, transport, shipment and sale of devices that “accelerate the firing rate of firearms so they operate in a similar manner as machine guns.” Prohibited devices include bump stocks, trigger cranks and other rapid-fire modification devices, which are legal in New York if not attached to a firearm.

Under New York state law, attaching such devices to a firearm would transform it into a machine gun, making it illegal in the state. The assemblyman referenced the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017 during which a lone gunman fired more than 1,100 rounds in 10 minutes and killing 58 people.

“The horrifying level of violence in Las Vegas was as [a] stark reminder that there is no reason why a civilian should have access to a military-style assault weapon that can inflict so much damage so quickly,” Braunstein said.

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