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Cuomo’s 1st proposal for 2020: Tighten gun laws across New York State

Budget Proposal No. 1: Prohibit gun licenses for those who commit crimes in other states

By Josh Durso

Governor Andrew Cuomo says his first proposal of 2020 will include an effort to tighten gun laws across New York State.

His first proposal will prevent individuals from receiving New York State gun licenses if they commit a crime in another state that is similar to a crime that would disqualify them from owning a gun in New York State.

State law currently prohibits individuals from obtaining a gun license if they commit certain New York misdemeanors that are deemed “serious offenses.”

However, the law does not prohibit individuals from obtaining a New York gun license after committing comparable misdemeanors in another state.

Governor Cuomo proposes amending the New York Penal Law to prevent such individuals from obtaining a gun license in New York.

“Gun violence in this country is a crisis. The cause is clear: spineless politicians in Washington who refuse to stand up to the NRA and pass common sense reforms. The solution is also clear: New York’s strongest-in-the-nation gun laws which have made us the safest big state in the country. But until the federal government acts, states with weak gun laws will continue to endanger New Yorkers at home, and I will not tolerate it,” Governor Cuomo said in a press release.

“This year, I propose a new law to prevent anyone who commits a serious crime in another state from buying or possessing a gun in New York. This new law will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and save lives. I’m proud that New York continues to show the country that we don’t have to live like this – that we can and will end gun violence,” Cuomo added.

In New York, serious misdemeanors which disqualify individuals from gun ownership include certain domestic violence misdemeanors, forcible touching and other misdemeanor sex offenses, and unlicensed possession of a firearm. In establishing a separate, statutory directive that a person cannot be licensed if they have been convicted of a similar crime in another state, it will authorize licensing entities upon application for a pistol permit to search for such crimes and deny licenses for those with qualifying out of state offenses, and additionally, will prevent renewal if an intervening conviction occurs. Further, each time a purchase is made, a Federal NICS check is completed, which searches for relevant criminal history and will also provide another check on these serious crimes.

Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has passed the strongest gun control laws in the nation, including the SAFE Act in 2013 and other measures which keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, and other serious offenders, as well as individuals who mental health professionals have deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. The SAFE Act also ensured private gun sales are subject to a background check, banned high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, and toughened criminal penalties for illegal gun use.

The Governor continued to build on New York’s nation-leading gun laws in 2019 with comprehensive legislation to: extend the background check waiting period; ban bump stocks; ban undetectable guns; expand firearm safe storage laws; prevent school districts from arming teachers; establish statewide regulations for gun buyback programs; and create a red flag procedure enabling concerned family members, educators, and law enforcement to seek a temporary order removing guns from individual deemed to pose a risk to themselves or others.

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