NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
May 25, 2005


Assembly Advances Anti-Gun Violence Legislation

Measures Seek to Reduce Gun-Related Domestic Violence Incidences;
Protect Children; Enhance Gun Safety Education and Awareness

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol announced Assembly passage this week of a legislative gun package aimed at reducing the number of illegal guns, safeguarding children from firearms and promoting the safety and effectiveness of law enforcement personnel.

"The Assembly Majority is once again moving forward on a sound and responsible gun safety agenda. These bills, some of which have been passed by the Assembly for nearly a decade, include measures that would both significantly increase penalties for gun trafficking and enact reforms to stop gun dealers from selling guns to criminals," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "By incorporating additional regulatory provisions based on legislation submitted by Attorney General Spitzer to get illegal guns off the streets and addressing the critical need to protect children from potentially dangerous situations, we present a substantive package that, if enacted, will go a long way towards protecting New Yorkers."

"The Assembly Majority's gun safety package would enact strong new laws to keep guns out of the hands of children and convicted felons, crack down on violent criminals who use firearms and enact common-sense measures to ensure that guns are possessed for lawful purposes, like self-defense and hunting," said Lentol (D-Brooklyn).

Keeping Guns Out Of The Hands Of Criminals

Cracking Down on Illegal Gun Trafficking (A.2345/Paulin)
Noting that one percent of gun dealers account for more than half of the legal guns that make their way into the illegal market, Silver said it was important to take a two-pronged approach to address gun trafficking. To that end, this bill not only takes aim at illegal trafficking but also imposes penalties on legal gun dealers guilty of dumping guns into the illegal market. (Passed Assembly 5/25/05)

The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale), imposes regulations on gun dealers to stop the flow of illegal weapons and also significantly increases criminal penalties for illegal gun possession and sales. The bill also requires stringent recordkeeping and reporting to prevent gun sales to criminals. Additionally, under terms of the legislation, gun dealers must implement a security plan, require employee training and prohibit minor's access to guns.

Tracking Guns Involved In Crimes (A.2213/Koon)
Another bill included in the package would require law enforcement personnel to submit ballistic information to the new ballistic identification databank whenever bullet shell casings or guns come into their possession. The measure is sponsored by Assemblyman David Koon (D/I-Perinton). (Passed Assembly 5/24/05)

Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Violent Felons (A.1170/Dinowitz)
Another bill would eliminate a loophole that allows a convicted felon to obtain a firearms license and possess a gun after being granted a waiver from a parole board. The measure is sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx).

This bill would stop the practice of allowing violent felons to possess a rifle or shotgun lawfully after being issued a "certificate of good conduct." It would also prevent felons who are issued a certificate of relief from disabilities or certificate of good conduct from obtaining a firearms license.

The bill narrows the relief afforded by these waivers to prevent convicted felons from obtaining a firearms license. It also criminalizes the possession of a rifle or shotgun by a convicted felon. (Passed Assembly 5/24/05)

Safeguarding Our Children

The Children's Weapon Accident Prevention Act (A.673 /Weisenberg)
This legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach), seeks to protect children from accidental shootings. Five new categories of crime would be created for negligent storage of a weapon under the bill's provisions. In addition, gun retailers would be required to alert consumers about the new weapons storage requirements and the New York State Education Department would have to develop a weapons safety program to teach children how to prevent weapon accidents. (Passed Assembly 5/24/05)

Childproofing Firearms (A.2302/Englebright)
This bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-East Setauket), would seek to reduce child-related shootings, particularly those tragedies of children shooting children. This bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor to sell guns without childproof features. Covered under provisions of the bill are pistols or revolvers manufactured 12 or more months after the effective date of the bill. Design features could include making the weapon more difficult to fire by adjusting the trigger resistance of the gun to at least a 10-pound pull, altering the firing mechanism so that an average five-year-old child's hand would be too small to operate the gun or to require a series of multiple motions in order to fire the gun. (Passed Assembly 5/25/05)

Promoting the Safety and Effectiveness of Law Enforcement

Stopping Assault Weapons (A.2466/Lavelle)
This legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman John Lavelle (D-Staten Island), would ban assault weapons. Seeking to address the void left by the expiration of federal assault weapon ban, the Assembly proposal would expand the definition of assault weapon to prohibit more of these deadly guns in New York - including guns that have been modified to work like assault weapons. (Passed Assembly 5/24/05)

Banning .50 Caliber Weapons (A.4471/Eddington)
Another proposal, sponsored by Assemblywoman Patricia Eddington (D-Patchogue), would ban .50 caliber sniper weapons, which can be used to disable commercial aircraft and helicopters and are powerful enough to penetrate steel plating. These dangerous weapons, which are used extensively by the United States military and are accurate from over one mile away, continue to be available for purchase in New York by anyone who can buy a rifle. A report from the nationally-renowned Violence Policy Center found that these weapons have been purchased by the Al Qaeda terrorist network and used by other domestic and international terrorist organizations. Silver noted the Assembly had sought to include a ban on these weapons in a comprehensive state anti-terrorism law passed two years ago, but the proposal was refused by the governor. Silver called attention to California's recent enactment of legislation banning these weapons and called on New York to do the same. (Passed Assembly 5/24/05)

Banning Armor-Piercing Ammunition (A.2837/Koon)
This measure seeks to rid New York streets of deadly armor-piercing ammunition and ammunition that is designed to fragment or explode upon impact. Silver noted that 46 police and sheriff's departments around the state have signed a resolution in support of the .50 caliber ban and the armor-piercing ammunition ban. (Passed Assembly 5/24/05)

Domestic Violence (A.2404/O'Donnell)
This bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell (D-Manhattan), has already passed the Assembly. The measure seeks to protect victims of domestic violence by requiring criminal or family court judges to inquire about the existence and location of firearms owned or possessed by a defendant when an order of protection is sought. Expressing concern for victims of domestic violence, Silver said that while current law provides for the mandatory revocation or suspension of firearms licenses upon the issuance of orders of protection, it does not require the court to inquire about the location of those weapons. (Passed Assembly 4/18/05)