Assemblymember Steck Helps Pass Legislation to Protect New Yorkers from Gun Violence

Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced that he co-sponsored and helped pass a series of bills to curb gun violence, including measures to prevent individuals who are deemed a threat to themselves or others or who have been convicted of domestic violence from owning or buying firearms, ban bump stocks and extend the waiting period to buy a gun after an incomplete background check to 10 days.

“Gun violence has ravaged communities across our nation, and the time to institute these commonsense reforms is long overdue,” said Steck. “We shouldn’t accept frequent mass shootings and day-to-day violence as the new normal. By preventing those who are deemed a risk from accessing guns, we can help stop future tragedies and save innocent lives.”

The legislative package includes a measure allowing a court to issue an “extreme risk protection order,” which prohibits a person who shows serious signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm for up to one year (A.8976-B). The petitioner, who can be a family member or law enforcement officer, would be required to file a sworn application describing the circumstances and justification for the request. Following a hearing, the court could grant the order if there is reasonable cause to believe the individual in question is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to him or herself or others. Individuals would be able to appeal the court’s decision and request a hearing at any time to discontinue the protection order.

Just last week, a local 15-year-old student was arrested for making a terroristic threat, though luckily investigators determined he did not have access to firearms.1 This incident illustrates that individuals with clear red flags can’t be allowed to own or purchase guns and turn threats into deadly action, noted Steck.

To further prevent dangerous individuals from accessing guns, Steck helped pass the Domestic Violence Escalation Prevention Act, which prevents domestic violence abusers from buying or owning firearms (A.5025). This bill addresses the intrinsic link between guns and domestic violence, ¬as more than half of all female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner.2

“Individuals with a history of violence against their partners or family have clearly demonstrated that they’re unfit to own a gun,” said Steck. “This measure could mean the difference between life and death. It is our obligation to make sure, as the Second Amendment says, that gun ownership is well-regulated. The consequences of allowing guns to fall into the wrong hands are too grave to stand silent.”

The legislation also includes measures that would:

  • prohibit the possession, manufacture, transport, shipment or sale of bump stocks, trigger cranks and similar devices that increase the firing rate of firearms (A.9958);
  • extend the waiting period to purchase a firearm from three to up to 10 days to allow for a complete and thorough background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) (A.2406); and
  • require out-of-state citizens who also have a home in New York to waive the confidentiality of their home state mental illness records when applying for a firearm license in New York (A.9978).