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NY State Senate passes gun bills

State Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, is pictured on the Senate floor debating a 10-day waiting period for gun purchases.

New York state is one-third of the way to a new 10-day waiting period for those who want to buy a pistol.

The state Senate passed S.1235 on Wednesday, with the legislation now forwarded to the state Assembly’s Codes Committee. The bill amends Section 826 of the General Business Law to state no firearms dealer can deliver any firearm, and no one can take possession of any firearm from a firearms dealer unless: 10 days have elapsed from the day the seller began the purchaser’s national instant background check and the dealer has received notice that the purchaser has passed all background checks required by federal, state and local law.

“The purpose is to counteract impulsive gun purchases,” said Sen. Mike Gianaris, D-Astoria and Senate deputy majority leader. “It has been shown through research that in the case of suicides and hostility toward others that a 10-day waiting period gives someone who might be impulsively seeking to purchase a gun a cooling off period.”

State Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, voted against the measure and questioned Gianaris about what actually happens during the 10-day waiting period as well as why pistol permit holders should have to wait the additional 10 days after already going through a series of background checks, reference checks and a thorough vetting.

“I guess I would point out that right now we are talking about probably the highest standard in the United States when it comes to a pistol permit and this 10-day waiting period largely only applies to people who are purchasing a pistol, not a long gun or a shotgun,” Borrello said. “So those people could still be impulsive if you will, but we also should keep in mind that better than 95% of gun-related crimes are committed with a gun that is illegally obtained. So I think this measure is really mostly just for show.”

Gianaris has tried to pass similar legislation eight times since 2012, with all eight proposals expiring in committee. In his legislative justification, Gianaris said the legislation is meant to improve public safety by giving law enforcement officials sufficient time to conduct a background check on prospective purchasers and by eliminating opportunities for impulsive acts of violence. Borrello, however, said nothing new is going to happen in the 10-day waiting period for those who already have a valid pistol permit.

“And after going through a very rigorous process in New York state to get a pistol permit, you’re still going to have to wait another 10 days,” Borrello said. “And what’s going to happen during that 10 days? Nothing. From the day that you got your pistol permit and you went to purchase your gun, in that 10-day waiting period, nothing’s going to happen. To me this is just an empty gesture to satisfy more radical special interests. But it puts victims at risk.”

Also on Wednesday, the state Senate passed legislation by a 49-14 vote — with Borrello again voting against — that prohibits the sale, purchase or transfer of firearms to anyone who has an outstanding warrant for a felony or serious offense. The bill also requires all state and local law enforcement agencies in the state to submit gun crime information to the National Crime Information Center, the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network and the National Tracing Center of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Current state law would make gun ownership illegal for those who are convicted of a felony, and Republicans opposed the bill because it acts before a court convicts someone of a crime.

“Once again it’s about due process,” Borrello said. “Someone’s constitutional rights are being taken away without due process.”

The Senate also approved by a 42-20 vote S.1251, which requires the division of criminal justice services to publish quarterly reports beginning October 1, 2021, providing information related to firearms, rifles and shotguns used in the commission of crimes in the state of New York. Borrello voted against the bill.

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