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Governor signs legislation banning bump stocks, extending background check waiting period

Posted 29 July 2019 at 12:14 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation to establish an up to 30-day waiting period for individuals who are not immediately approved to purchase a firearm through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (S.2374/A.2690) and to close existing statutory loopholes to prohibit ownership or sale of a bump stock (S.2448/A.2684).

This legislation builds on New York’s strongest in the nation gun laws, including the Red Flag Bill signed in February that prevents individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm.

“For too long gun violence has plagued communities across our nation and while the federal government turns a blind eye, New York continues leading the way forward to protect our families and our children,” Governor Cuomo said. “By signing these measures into law we are strengthening our nation-leading gun laws – banning devices whose sole purpose is to create the most bloodshed in the shortest timeframe and providing law enforcement the tools they need to stop firearms from falling into dangerous hands.”

Extending the Background Check Waiting Period

Current federal law requires gun dealers to conduct a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check on a potential purchaser prior to selling a firearm, which immediately provides the dealer with one of three possible notifications. These notifications include “proceed,” “denied,” or “delayed.”

In the case of a “delayed” response, the dealer must wait three days before completing the sale. The FBI may continue to investigate the individual past the three-day timeframe but oftentimes by the time law enforcement has determined that the potential purchaser is ineligible, the sale has already been completed. By extending the waiting period up to 30 days, law enforcement is provided with sufficient time to complete a background check and help ensure that only those eligible to purchase and own a firearm are able to do so.

Banning Bump Stocks

In 2017, bump stocks and other devices that accelerate the rate of fire of firearms came to national attention after a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada that killed 58 people. These devices are attached to semi-automatic weapons and allow shooters to fire ammunition faster than any human could.

Machine guns, and firearms that simulate machine guns, are already illegal under New York law, because of the immense public safety risks these weapons pose. Bump stocks and similar devices pose a similar threat to public safety, and this legislation will prohibit the possession, manufacture, transportation, shipment and sale of any items that accelerate the firing rate of firearms, rifles or shotguns.

Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “There is absolutely no need for military-grade weaponry on the streets nor homes of New York State. Bump stocks and other devices that allow firearms to shoot faster than any human ever could are evidently an acute danger to the public, and have already caused too many tragedies across our country. As we sign this bill into law today, our thoughts are with the families of victims of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting and all others who have lost their lives due to this deadly technology. Today we commit to greater safety, prevention, and accountability for the people of New York State, for whom we must continue to strive to foster lives free from the devastation of gun violence.”

Assembly Member Patricia Fahy said, “Law enforcement and gun violence advocates have been resoundingly clear – there is no legitimate reason for any individual to possess a device that is capable of turning a legal, semiautomatic firearm into a fully-functioning machine gun, and yet the Federal Department of Justice estimates that 520,000 bump stocks have been sold just since 2010. My legislation closes loopholes and ensures bump stocks are fully banned in New York to help prevent horrific tragedies such as the one in Las Vegas in 2017. I thank Speaker Heastie and Governor Cuomo for their continued leadership and for once again nation-leading on gun control in New York.”

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