With Gov. Andrew Cuomo back at the helm and with majorities now in both the Assembly and House, New York Democrats plan to roll out new gun control measures next year.
Four pieces of legislation are believed to be at the top of the list, including red-flag confiscation, extended waiting periods on firearm purchases, a ban on bump stocks, and social media probes for prospective gun buyers, reports WGRZ.
“We will be getting together over the next few weeks, where people will have a clear understanding of so many of the things that are going to be facing us,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers).
“Then I would be in a better position to say ‘We’re all going to do this, we’re all going to do that.’
Under a red-flag confiscation scheme, also known as an extreme risk protection order, school officials, family members, and police officers can petition a court to seize an individual’s firearms if they believe the person is a threat to themselves or others.
Critics of the bill argue that red-flag confiscation is redundant as there are already laws on the books that allow law enforcement to commit people who exhibit troubling, if not, dangerous behavior.
“We don’t want people who are mentally disturbed out there with a firearm,” explained Tom King, president of the state Rifle and Pistol Association. “But the problem is we don’t need more rules and regulations to do it. All those rules and regulations are out there; they’re not enforced.”
Under New York law one is already prohibited from affixing a reciprocating stock to a long gun. However, the device by itself is still legal to own, buy and sell. Democrats want to close this so-called “loophole” to outright ban the mere possession of the plastic range accessory.
“The reality is I believe there’s really a broad consensus around something like doing the common-sense gun laws that we have been pushing, whether it’s what they’re calling the red flag or extreme risk protection orders, or whether it’s banning bump stocks,” said Stewart-Cousins.
Democrats also want to extend the existing three-day waiting period for firearm purchases to 10 days. Their rationale is that it gives authorities more time to vet buyers who receive a “delayed” result (as opposed to a “proceed” or “denied” result) from the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
“Expanding the time that NICS officials have to perform an investigation to ten days would assist in ensuring that firearms sales will not be made to persons prohibited from possessing a firearm without unduly burdening legitimate sales,” said Gov. Cuomo in a memo supporting the bill.
Of course, critics argue that a right delayed is a right denied. In situations where a buyer is dealing with a stalker or a violent ex, every minute a person is unarmed he or she is vulnerable. Those extra days could be the difference between life and death.
Moreover, critics argue that pressure should be placed on government to be more streamlined with processing background checks. After all, why should citizens bear the brunt of bureaucratic inefficiency? It’s the government that needs to get its act together.
Finally, the last measure has already caused quite a stir, as GunsAmerica previously reported. Senate Bill 9191 would require anyone getting a state handgun license to have “his or her social media accounts and search engine history reviewed.”
Authorities would have access to “any log-in name, password or other means” to probe an individual’s digital footprint. If the New York State Police do not like what they find, they will deny one his or her gun permit. It’s unclear what constitutes disqualifying content or speech.
Of the four, this is the biggest long shot. While it has several supporters in the Senate, including the bill’s author Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn), no one in the Assembly has sponsored it yet. That said, this is New York we’re talking about, the home of the draconian SAFE Act.