Hawley says new Assembly gun legislation ‘unconscionable violations’ of rights

Staff Reports Posted 10 June 2021 at 10:09 am

Assembly speaker says bills are ‘common sense’ gun safety legislation

The New York State Assembly on Wednesday passed a series of bills that Assemblyman Steve Hawley says would restrict the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers.

Hawley opposed the legislation which he said would drive gun sellers and manufacturers out of the state through burdensome regulation. One of the bills passed would make firearms manufacturers and dealers liable for harm caused by their weapon even if that harm is not reasonably foreseeable, if deemed a “public nuisance” (A.6762B).

“These bills won’t make anyone safer, and are nothing but shallow attempts to regulate sellers of firearms out of the state and make it impossible to sell handguns here in New York,” Hawley said. “These measures are unconscionable violations of the constitutional rights of New Yorkers, and are just another step toward making it impractical, if not illegal, to buy and sell firearms in New York state.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie hailed the package of “common sense” gun safety legislation. Included in the legislative package are bills that he said would ban ghost guns, hold the gun industry liable for damages it causes, prohibit those with an outstanding warrant of arrest for a felony from purchasing a gun, and require quarterly reports on the origin of firearms used to commit crimes in New York.

“We have seen too many lives cut short and too many communities devastated by senseless gun violence – we should not have to see another person lose their life in a shooting at a school or workplace, or who was shot outside their home,” Heastie said.

Heastie’s office in a press release said this about the legislation:

• Ghost Guns – Included in the legislative package is the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act, which would prohibit the possession of ghost guns. Ghost guns are unserialized firearms, typically assembled from unserialized parts, including unfinished frames or receivers. It would require licensed gunsmiths to serialize and register with the New York State Police any unserialized firearm, rifle, shotgun, finished frame or receiver, or unfinished frame or receiver in their possession (A.613-A, Rosenthal).

• Unfinished Receiver Act – The Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act would prohibit the possession and sale of unfinished frames and receivers by individuals that are not licensed gunsmiths. Unfinished frames and receivers are incomplete gun components that do not require serial numbers under federal law. Because guns assembled from unfinished frames and receivers do not have serial numbers, they are untraceable and can be built and transported without the normal background checks required when purchasing a gun from a licensed retailer, Heastie said. The legislation is named for Scott J. Beigel, who lost his life during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida while trying to protect his students (A.2666-A, Lavine).

• Microstamping – This legislation would require all semiautomatic pistols to be capable of microstamping expended cartridge cases. Microstamping technology utilizes lasers to make precise, microscopic engravings on the internal mechanisms of a gun. As the gun is fired, information identifying the make, model and serial number of the gun can be stamped onto the cartridge as numbers and letters. This will allow law enforcement to trace firearms to their original purchaser through cartridge cases found at a crime scene. This would apply to semiautomatic pistols manufactured after January 1, 2023, that are sold or delivered in New York (A.7926, Rosenthal).

• No guns if outstanding warrant – The legislative package would prohibit the purchase, acquisition, sale or disposal of a weapon by or to anyone known to be the subject of an outstanding warrant of arrest for the alleged commission of a felony or serious offense. It would also prohibit an individual from purchasing or acquiring a gun on behalf of another person who the purchaser or acquirer knows to be the subject of such a warrant (A.6198-B, Paulin).

• Expanded Red Flag Law – This legislation would require mental health facilities to provide patients and their authorized representative with information on how to seek an extreme risk protection order prior to a patient’s discharge or conditional release. This builds on the 2019 red flag law, which allows law enforcement to confiscate firearms and prohibit an individual from purchasing a firearm if they are deemed to be a threat, and if an extreme risk protection court order is issued (A.1005-A, Paulin).

• ‘Disguised Guns’ – This legislation would amend the definition of “disguised gun” to include any rifle, shotgun or machine gun that resembles a toy gun. This would prohibit the possession, manufacture and design of such disguised guns (A.6522, Stern).

• Quarterly reports on guns used in crimes – This would require the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and the Division of State Police to publish quarterly reports providing information on firearms, rifles and shotguns that are used in the commission of crimes in New York. This would provide lawmakers and the public with a better understanding of the nature of the firearms used in crimes in the state and better inform policy actions in the future (A.7243, Richardson).