Amy Paulin Applauds Provision in State Budget to Ensure Domestic Violence Abusers Cannot Buy or Keep Guns

April 1, 2020

Scarsdale, NY – The New York State budget bill passed today includes a provision advanced by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin to update court procedures for determining whether certain serious misdemeanors are crimes of domestic violence.

In 2011, Paulin authored the law to include misdemeanor domestic violence crimes in the federal NICS database so that abusers would be prohibited from purchasing firearms. Due to Paulin’s advocacy, the law was updated in 2018 to require the immediate surrender of weapons upon conviction of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime or other serious offense.

These laws were an incredible step towards protecting victims, however, in the past several years it has become apparent that the procedures must be updated. The law requires a hearing to establish that the defendant and the victim are members of the same family of household, but prosecutors had discretion whether to initiate that hearing of not. This measure will make the hearing mandatory. It also requires the court to report its finding to the Department of Criminal Justice Services within three business days, for reporting to the NICS database. This will ensure that the convicted individuals are reported to the NICS database and surrender their guns.

“I've been working to close the domestic violence loophole on guns for a long time,” said Assemblymember Paulin. “Every month, an average of 52 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner, and access to a gun makes it five times more likely that an abuser will kill their partner. I am pleased that we have taken this critical step to make sure that guns are kept out of the hands of abusers and protect victims from potentially deadly consequences.”