The Assembly and Senate have passed legislation that would require New York to report data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on firearm ownership so New York would be in compliance with the Gun Control Act. The federal law prohibits people convicted of misdemeanor domestic-violence crimes from buying or owning firearms. The bill now goes to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign it.
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, Westchester County, said the legislation would bring New York into compliance with provisions of the federal Gun Control Act. States are required to provide data to the FBI after each conviction, including whether the crime included the attempted use of force, threatened the use of a deadly weapon and whether there is a defined relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. Reporting the information to the FBI would make it easier to flag people who aren’t eligible to buy firearms, she said.
“The federal government has provided states with a way to ensure that guns aren’t sold to domestic violence abusers and New York should take full advantage of that opportunity,” Paulin, who sponsored the bill in her house, said in a statement. “Following the tragic deaths of Jessica Welch and Officer John Falcone, who were both shot and killed by Jessica’s ex-partner and abuser in Poughkeepsie earlier this year, I was determined to pass this bill.”
Sen. Stephen Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, sponsored the legislation in the Senate.
Four women a day are killed in the United States by their current or former partners, and a firearm is the weapon that is used most often in the murders. There were 130 domestic homicides on New York, with more than two-thirds of them committed by intimate partners, according to Paulin.
The legislation has the support of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“Access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicide more than five times compared to instances where there are no weapons. In addition, abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners,” Michele McKeon, chief executive director of Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said in a statement. “Strengthening existing law is critical to supporting New York State’s zero tolerance policy towards domestic violence. If offenders are told that they are prohibited from doing something because of the crimes they commit against their intimate partner or family member, then that prohibition must be enforced.”