NY Assembly passes bills aimed at reducing gun violence
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The Democrat-controlled state Assembly on Tuesday passed legislation aimed at reducing gun violence in the state, a day after Republicans who control New York’s Senate approved bills that focus on school safety but don’t address the gun control issue.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the majority’s five-bill package approved Tuesday is another example of New York serving as “a national model for sensible gun laws” in the aftermath of mass shootings in the U.S.
“We will continue fighting to ensure that we have the strongest and smartest gun laws possible to keep citizens and communities safe,” said Heastie, a Bronx Democrat.
The Assembly measures would keep firearms out of the hands of people deemed by courts to be a danger to themselves or others, set a 10-day waiting period for delivery of a gun to a person who hasn’t cleared a background check instead of the current three-day period, and prevent people convicted of domestic violence from buying a firearm.
The bills also would ban the devices known as bump stocks, which can be used to increase the firing speed of semi-automatic rifles, and require out-of-state residents who also have homes in New York to waive the confidentiality of their home state’s mental illness records if they want to own a gun in New York state.
None of the Assembly measures involve school security, but Heastie and other supporters of the legislation say the bills would keep firearms from getting into the hands of people intent on doing harm at a New York school.
On Monday, Republican senators who hold the Senate majority with the help of a group of breakaway Democrats passed 15 bills involving school safety. The measures include state funding for armed police stationed in schools and other security upgrades. The Republicans turned back efforts by Democrats to advance new restrictions on firearm access.
The Legislature’s actions come in response to last month’s mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 students and educators dead. While Senate Republicans support having an armed police presence in schools, Assembly Democrats remain staunchly against the idea.
“Having an armed security person didn’t prevent what happened in Florida,” Heastie said.
The Assembly’s measure regarding domestic violence convictions and guns is similar to a proposal Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled as part of his 2018 agenda. The Democrat says anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime would have to surrender any firearms they possess. Cuomo has said it should be up to Congress to pass any meaningful gun-control legislation.
When asked if he expects the Assembly’s anti-gun violence measures to be part of the negotiations over Cuomo’s $168 billion state budget proposal, Heastie responded: “This should be a top priority as a stand-alone issue.”