Even before the December 14, 2012, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, the number of New Yorkers in favor of stricter gun laws was on the rise. In a Quinnipiac University survey conducted from September 4-9, 2012, and in the wake of the mass shootings at a movie theater in Colorado and a Sikh temple outside of Milwaukee, 61 percent of respondents said stricter gun laws were necessary and 68 percent said they supported legislation to limit firearm purchases to one per month.
With a majority of New Yorkers in favor of further gun regulation and the tragedy of the Newtown school shooting still fresh in the nation’s consciousness, gun laws are sure to be a priority in the New York legislature in 2013. Gun-control advocates in the legislature are hopeful of their chances to pass a variety of gun control measures they have championed unsuccessfully for years.
Gun-control bills introduced in the New York legislature
New York legislators have already introduced a suite of gun-control bills in the Senate that could dramatically alter gun-control regulation throughout the state. A summary of some of the gun-control bills about which the New York legislature may be required to vote on this year are provided below.
Micro-stamping. Micro-stamping is a technology that imprints on each bullet fired information about the gun from which it was discharged. Supporters of micro-stamping, including major law enforcement groups and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, say it will help solve crimes. Critics of micro-stamping say the technology is unreliable, easy to tamper with, untested and expensive.
10-day waiting period. Senate bill S571 would establish a 10-day waiting period for the purchase of any firearm.
Gun purchases limited to one a month. Senate bill S572 would create a prohibition on the purchase of more than one firearm during any 30-day period.
Stricter firearms safety certificate requirements. Senate bill S573 would amend the law requiring persons possessing a firearm to hold a firearms safety certificate by adding additional requirements to acquire the certificate. One of the new requirements is at least five hours of classroom instruction on handling/storing firearms and state and federal laws relating to the purchase, sale, possession, transportation and storage of firearms. Another new requirement is at least two hours of instruction at a shooting range with a firearm of the type the certificate applicant intends to acquire.
Regulation of firearms and ammunition dealers. Senate bill S574 would further regulate firearms and ammunition dealers by requiring them to obtain a permit issued by the Division of Criminal Justice Services, carry insurance, conduct background checks of all employees, engage in certain security measures and report firearms sales within 24 hours to the Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Universal background checks. Senate bill S575 would require background checks for all firearms sales, including transactions between a private seller and a private buyer for which background checks are not currently required.
Mandatory gun and permit revocation. Senate bill S670 would require the courts to take away the guns and permits held by any person who is involuntarily committed to a mental institution or forced into outpatient treatment.
Background checks for ammunition purchases. Senate bill S7829 would require background checks for all ammunition purchases, regardless of the quantity of ammunition purchased.
Seek legal representation
New York already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and if the gun-control bills introduced in the New York legislature in 2013 become law, New York will likely have the most-aggressive gun laws in the country. If you are facing a weapons charge in New York, it’s imperative to take the charge seriously and contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will work diligently to protect your rights and build a strong defense to the charges.