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Two of Assemblymember Paulin's Gun Control Bills Signed Into Law

safestorageThis past week, two bills proposed by Assemblymember Amy Paulin were signed into laws by Governor Cuomo. Both bills dealt with firearm issues and gun safety. Here are the press releases from the office of Assemblymember Paulin:

 

Amy Paulin’s Bill to Keep Guns Out of the Hands of Those Unable to Pass a Background Check Signed Into Law

Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) is proud to announce that her bill to increase the time interval before a firearm, shotgun, or rifle may be sold to an individual whose background check requires additional investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (A.2690) was signed into law today by Governor Cuomo.

Under current law, approximately 9-11% of the background checks for gun purchases utilizing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) do not come back as either “proceed” or “deny.” They come back designated as “delayed,” and the case is referred to an FBI examiner for additional investigation to determine if the buyer is one of 9 categories of prohibited purchaser. However, after three business days, if the background check still has not come back with a clear “proceed” or “deny” designation, the buyer can be provided the firearm at the dealer’s discretion.

The new law increases the time interval before the dealer has the discretion to hand over the firearm to 30 calendar days so that the FBI has sufficient time to complete their investigation.
“Most background checks come back quickly and cleanly from NICS,” said Assemblymember Amy Paulin. “This will not hinder a law-abiding citizen's ability to purchase of a gun. According to the FBI, they just need more time to do their job to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

The Gifford Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has nicknamed this issue with the background checks system the “Charleston loophole.” Dylann Roof, the confessed shooter at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, received a “delayed” designation on the background check when he purchased the weapon that he would later use in that tragedy. The NICS database had the information that Roof had a prior drug arrest, but did not have the information that he had confessed to that charge, which would have been sufficient to deny his background check. An FBI examiner did not receive the case files from local authorities within the three business day window, and the dealer had discretion under the law to hand over the gun to Roof.

Giving law enforcement officers a full 30 days to complete their investigation is particularly important to prevent those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors, which takes the longest of any prohibited factor to be noted appropriately in NICS. According to a 2016 report by the Government Accountability Office, 30% of cases of domestic violence misdemeanors take 11 calendar days or more to be adequately taken into account in NICS, making it entirely possible under the prior law for someone convicted of domestic violence to begin a background check, receive a “delay” designation, but still receive a gun from the dealer before NICS could accurately determine that the individual should be denied the gun. This had the potential to create an incredibly dangerous scenario for victims of domestic violence.

Finally, persons who are on the FBI’s Terror Watch list will receive a “delayed” designation on their background checks. Under current federal law, being on the Terror Watch list in and of itself is not sufficient to deny an individual a gun, but it is a flag for the FBI to conduct more rigorous scrutiny of the individual’s background. This law will extend the period of time in which that investigation can discretely take place before the dealer would be permitted to hand over a gun.

"Despite all our progress, it is still simply too easy for guns to fall into the wrong hands," said Assemblymember Amy Paulin. "This law will build on our already strong gun laws by ensuring that law enforcement has sufficient time to complete a background check without impinging on the rights of law-abiding citizens."

Amy Paulin’s safe storage of firearms bill signed into law

Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) released the following statement upon the news that Governor Andrew Cuomo had signed into law her bill (A. 2686A) to require the safe and secure storage of rifles, shotguns, and handguns to prevent access by children and other prohibited persons.

“This achievement has special meaning for me. I was an advocate on the issue of commonsense measures to prevent gun violence long before I was an Assemblymember. I introduced a bill on the safe storage of firearms at the very beginning of my Assembly career. Though it has been a long time in coming, the result is a law that will help prevent accidental injuries and deaths, particularly of children, and will also help prevent incidents of suicide and theft.

“New York state law already requires the safe storage of rifles, shotguns, and handguns in households when a person who lives there has been convicted of a crime, is subject to an order of protection, or other factors. This law adds households where a child under the age of 16 lives, or times when a child of that age could reasonably be expected to be visiting a house. Given everything we know about the effect a gun in the home can have on our children’s health and safety, and the many tragic stories when a firearm was left unattended by an adult, this law is absolutely necessary for keeping our kids safe.

“Too often have we hears stories like that of 12 year-old Nicholas Naumkin of Wilton, New York, who was fatally shot at a classmate’s house in 2010 when his friend was playing with his father’s unsecured gun. In addition to accidents, adolescents also face increased risk of suicides in households where guns are not secure. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the mere presence of a gun in the home increases the risk of suicidal thoughts. Also according to AFSP’s most recent annual report, 51% of all suicides in the United States are by a firearm, and 60% of gun-related deaths are suicides.

“Our law has been carefully designed to respect the rights of law-abiding citizens, and to honor hunting traditions and educational training programs for teenagers. Given the well-documented risk to our children and our families, it is not too much to ask gun owners who live with a child under 16 to safely store their firearm when it is not in their direct control in an appropriate safe storage depository and/or by using a gun-locking device to prevent the weapon from being fired. This law is commonsense for many gun owners already, and will enable us to prevent accidents, suicides and school incidents that put our children in harm’s way.”

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