Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed a law to ensure that individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors will be barred from legally purchasing firearms.
"We have seen too often the tragic consequences of domestic violence. This new law provides further safeguards to keep firearms away from those with violent records," Governor Cuomo said. "New York state must stand strong against domestic violence by protecting victims and making sure those convicted of such crimes cannot inflict further damage. I thank the sponsors, Senator Saland and Assemblywoman Paulin, for their hard work on this important legislation."
Federal law forbids the sale of a firearm to individuals convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. However, differences between New York state and federal domestic violence statutes has created a gap in the law where the information from those found guilty of domestic violence crimes in New York courts is not transmitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) used for background checks of those purchasing firearms. Under the new law, when a defendant is convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor offense in New York, the court will determine whether the crime is related or situated to the federal domestic violence statute and if so, transmit the defendant's information to the Division of Criminal Justice Services which passes it on to the NICS.
Senator Steve Saland said, "With four domestic violence related deaths in Dutchess County in the past year, I am keenly aware of the need to strengthen the laws to provide further protections to victims of domestic violence. Despite our ongoing efforts against domestic violence, it remains a problem that tragically continues to be too prevalent. It not only victimizes those abused, but also impacts the community at large. This new law will provide much needed protections to keep firearms from violent criminals and prevent future tragedies and I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership in signing this bill into law."
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said, "Today New York State takes advantage of the federal government's system to ensure that guns aren't sold to domestic violence abusers. Following the tragic deaths of Jessica Welch and Officer John Falcone, who were both shot and killed by Jessica's ex-partner and abuser in Poughkeepsie earlier this year, I was determined to pass this bill which will help prevent such tragedies from occurring again. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill and I look forward to continuing to do all we can to fight against domestic violence."