Press Release

As New York Legislative Session Ends, Giffords Notes the Progress Made, but Calls Out Failure to Pass Law to Keep Guns out of Dangerous Hands

Legislature passed, and governor signed, a law to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers

At the same time, Senate Leadership failed to advance an Extreme Risk Protection Order that temporarily removes guns from at-risk individuals

Washington, D.C. — As the New York legislative session ends, Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization, noted the progress made to make the state safer, while at the same time calling out state senate leadership for failure to pass a law to keep guns out of dangerous hands. The New York General Assembly successfully passed legislation to strengthen laws preventing domestic abusers from obtaining firearms that Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law. But legislation to establish an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), which creates a process for temporarily prohibiting an individual who is a danger to themselves or others from possessing a firearm, failed to advance this year.

Statement from Nico Bocour, State Legislative Director of Giffords:

“The General Assembly took the necessary step to better prevent domestic abusers from ever getting their hands on a gun. The legislature deserves credit for their work on this front, but the leadership also let New York families down by failing to pass an Extreme Risk Protection Order. We are disappointed to see this critical legislation that could save lives fail to make it to the Governor’s desk because of Senate leadership’s inaction. New York must do more to show it’s taking every step to protect its citizens and lead the nation in taking the gun violence crisis head-on.”   

New York’s domestic violence legislation will strengthen laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and other prohibited purchasers. While state law had previously prohibited some domestic abusers from acquiring or possessing guns, this law did not previously apply to people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes involving assault, battery, strangulation, or criminal threats.

This legislation will also ensure that abusers subject to domestic violence protective orders are required to relinquish all firearms, not just handguns. Finally, this bill will implement standard, enforceable relinquishment procedures for courts to ensure that people convicted of serious crimes do not illegally retain their firearms after conviction.

The Extreme Risk Protection Order bills, S. 7133, championed by Senators Brian Kavanagh and Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember JoAnne Simon, and A.11148, Governor Cuomo’s program bill, would have established a judicial process to acquire an order protection so that an individual in crisis so that an individual in crisis would be temporarily prohibited from firearm possession.

While the state has worked hard to better protect communities by passing lifesaving legislation, a recent analysis from Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence makes clear that works remains. The report, “The Economic Cost of Gun Violence in New York,” find the overall economic cost of gun violence exceeds $5.6 billion a year, with a direct annual cost to New York taxpayers of approximately $433 million.