New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed gun legislation late last week to help eradicate incidents of mass shootings, domestic violence, harassment. Cuomo interwove the issues as he teased the legislation he plans to unveil next year at New York’s State of the State.
“This year will be remembered as the year of reckoning, when both the tragedy of mass shootings and cultural and institutional harassment of women became impossible to ignore,” Governor Cuomo said. “Building on the Women’s Equality Agenda, we are continuing our mission for progressive values and women’s rights with this legislation to target the unquestionable relationship between domestic violence and gun violence.”
Cuomo’s legislation would ban possession of all firearms from New York residents who commit any domestic violence crime, a federal law already in place.
Today I am announcing legislation to remove all firearms from those who commit any domestic violence crimes.
Given the inextricable link between domestic violence and lethal gun violence, this legislation will require all domestic violence crime convictions, including misdemeanors, to result in the immediate removal of all firearms.
New York State law presently bans the possession of firearms of those convicted of felonies. However, that prohibition does not include domestic violence crimes that result in misdemeanors.
Details about the proposed legislation are not available yet, but according to the Albany Times Union, Cuomo’s bill would expand current state law to domestic violence misdemeanors. Additionally, the new law would now require that weapons like shotguns and rifles to be confiscated, not just handguns.
It is unknown, however, if the legislation includes a provision that allows law enforcement to confiscate firearms from individuals based off mere allegations of another person. It is also unknown if law enforcement will return all of the defendant’s firearms in a timely manner if the allegations are proven to be false.
Rhode Island recently passed a bill to confiscate guns from anyone accused of domestic violence. Similar to Cuomo’s proposal, anyone under a protective order from a family or district court would be mandated to hand over his or her guns within 24 hours of being notified by authorities. The bill also requests police to map out regulations if the seized guns were appropriately stored.
New York is one of 12 states where residents must prove a “good cause” or, in New York’s case, a “special need for self-protection” to carry a firearm concealed, and victims of domestic violence should not expect New York law enforcement authorities to consider their circumstances to be a good cause to carry a firearm.
Last summer, National Rifle Association helped Tennessee and Indiana state legislatures pass laws that would allow victims of domestic violence to carry a handgun without a license for a pre-determined period of time if they have a protective order against their alleged abusers.