Additional gun bills proposed
Several new pieces of gun legislation have been proposed in the state Legislature even as the ink is still drying on the state’s most recent batch of firearms-related bills.
Only days after the end of the legislature’s extraordinary session on July 1, six bills either tightening gun sales laws or aiming have been proposed for discussion during the 2023 state legislative session.
Three of those bills are sponsored by Syracuse Democrat Amy Paulin.
Syracuse Democrat Amy Paulin has proposed requiring background checks every five years before renewal of a pistol permit and to require those with pistol permits licensed to purchase or possess a semiautomatic rifle to renew their pistol permit every five years.
The SAFE Act passed in 2013 already requires pistol permit recertification every five years, though license holders in New York City, Suffolk and Nassau counties must renew their licenses rather than recertify their licenses.
See BILLS, Page A5
Paulin said the recertification process isn’t as thorough as renewal of a license because it only requires current license holders to submit a form to State Police disclosing the firearms in a person’s possession and personal identifying information such as name, date of birth, and social security number.
Renewing a pistol permit requires meeting the same conditions an individual is required to satisfy when applying for an initial firearms license. License holders are screened every five years if their license has not been revoked to make sure there are no prior conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, have not been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, haven’t committed a felony and not been reported by a medical health professional as being likely engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to themselves or others. Additionally, the renewal process requires current license holders to disclose whether they have been the subject or recipient of an Order of Protection or Temporary Order of Protection.
“As a result, this bill would create uniformity across the state so that all license holders are obligated to meet the same set of standards upon expiration of their current license. Re-examining all license holders’ eligibility to possess a firearm license every five years is an essential safeguard and critical step in ensuring the safety of all New Yorkers,” Paulin wrote in her legislative memorandum.
Paulin also introduced A.10624 to require proof of a mental health examination which a doctor, psychologist or state-licensed social worker says the person is competent and not likely to be a danger to the public before a license to carry a firearm is granted. She said the proposal is modeled after a West Virginia law and may have prevented the mass shooting in Buffalo.
“If any of these mass shooters were required to undergo a mental health examination from a licensed mental health professional prior to obtaining a firearm, it is extremely probable a mental health professional would have found these individuals likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety,” Paulin wrote.
New York’s revised conceal carry permit requires 16 hours of in-person training and at least two hours of training at a firing range. Paulin has proposed additional training requirements in A.10619. The Syracuse Democrat wants the state to require 40 hours of training and pass a test to to receive a conceal carry test, while also proposing a requirement that any gun license require passage of a firearms safety course and test devised by the state. Only Westchester County requires a training course to carry or possess a firearm, though licensing officers in many counties require applicants to complete a basic firearm safety course before a pistol permit is issued.
“For those individuals who seek to carry a concealed firearm in New York, the basic safety course is insufficient,” Paulin wrote. “When guns are carried into public places, it is imperative that the gun-owners have more advanced training and that they have demonstrated proficiency in handling and firing their gun in a safe manner. Accordingly, more than half of the states and the District of Columbia mandate that concealed carry permit applicants take a training course in firearm use and/or safety.'”
State Sen. Kevin Thomas, D-Garden City, wants to make it illegal to spread or publish files or instructions digitally to manufacture a gun or its components. S.9324 proposes that anyone who does so could face a class C felony charge punishable by as many as 15 years in jail.
Thomas said 3D printed guns can be cheap to make, sold for considerable profit and are difficult for police to trace.
“Individuals who would be rejected from purchasing guns from licensed dealers should not be able to print untraceable guns at home,” Thomas wrote in his legislative justification. “This bill would require companies that make 3D firearm files available to consumers to be licensed as a gunsmith and to run background checks on purchasers prior to sale. This measure would keep firearms out of the wrong hands and keep our communities safe.”
Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Schenectady, proposes requiring any firearm, rifle or shotgun to be manufactured so they are incompatible with rapid-fire modification devices. The bill (A.10557) also would require gun makers to make those modifications to their weapons at no cost to gun owners and gun dealers. Gun owners would be given one year to make their weapons compliant if Steck’s legislation is passed.
Anyone who makes or ships a gun not meeting the state’s requirement would face a class E felony. Rapid-fire modification devices would include bump stock, trigger crank, binary trigger system, burst trigger system, or any other device that is designed (a) to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearm, rifle or shotgun; or (b) for use in converting a firearm, rifle or shotgun to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.
“Sadly, the company Glock is well-aware that their firearms are being used for this illegal conversation and has done nothing to make their weapons incompatible with auto sears,” Steck wrote in his legislative justification. “Anyone can obtain an auto sear if they have access to 3D printer or the internet and $20. The manufacturers of these easily modified firearms have a responsibility to ensure their products are not easily converted by criminals who are now outgunning law enforcement. This legislation requires gun manufacturers to make their weapons that are imported into New York state, transported through New York state or manufactured in New York state, incompatible with any rapid fire devices.”
Assemblyman Tom Abinanti proposes creating a civil cause of legal action against anyone who makes, distributes, transports or imports into the state certain weapons, including .50 BMG riflews, assault weapons, firearms and firearm precursor parts as well as guns with no serial numbers. A.10545 would require a court to award someone winning such a lawsuit no less than $10,000 for each weapon or firearm precursor in violation of state law as well as attorney’s fees and costs.
“This bill seeks to curb the prevalence of assault weapons by enlisting the help of our residents,” Abinanti wrote in his legislative justification. “Any New Yorker is authorized to bring a civil action against anyone that manufactures or causes to be manufactured, distributes, transports, or imports into the state, or causes to be distributed or transported or imported into the state, keeps for sale or offers or exposes for sale, or gives or lends any assault weapon, .50 BMG rifle, firearm lacking a required serial number, or firearm precursor part, as specified.”