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Year after SAFE Act, groups call for further gun controls


By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- Gun control advocates are out this morning with their legislative wish-list for the 2014 legislative session. They are proposing everything from new sales restrictions on handguns to microstamping of shell casings.

Here is part of the press release issued by a couple lawmakers and gun control groups:

NEW YORK, NY —Today, on the first anniversary of enactment of the historic NY Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE Act), Assemblymembers Michelle Schimel and Brian Kavanagh, Co-Chairs of State Legislators Against Illegal Guns-NY (SLAIGNY), Leah Gunn Barrett, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV), and other legislators (below) released a comprehensive gun safety legislative agenda for 2014.

The legislation proposed for the new session that began on January 8th is designed to build upon the NY SAFE Act, which was sponsored by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Co-Leader Jeffrey Klein and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and to maintain New York’s role as a national leader on sensible gun safety laws.

The NY SAFE Act included crucial and widely popular provisions like background checks on all gun purchasers, a prohibition on sales of assault rifles with certain characteristics, a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, and other measures. As a result of these and other protections in state law, New York earned an “A-minus” grade and ranked among the top 5 states in America for sensible gun laws, according to the Brady Campaign and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s 2013 State Scorecard.

Notwithstanding this success, the legislation announced today would represent a significant step toward greater gun safety and raise New York’s rating even higher. SLAIGNY Co-Chair Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh said, “While some seek to go backwards and undo the SAFE Act—and make it legal once again, for example, to sell guns to strangers with no questions asked, or to have guns with 30-round ammunition magazines—we’re taking our next steps forward to prevent gun violence without undue restrictions on responsible gun owners.With NYAGV, Assemblymember Schimel, and our colleagues and allies working together, I know we’ll succeed in building upon last year’s great achievements.”

SLAIGNY Co-Chair Assemblymember Michelle Schimel said, “As long as children and innocents are murdered with illegal guns, we cannot stop. Our moderate voices for sensible gun laws will not be silenced.”

NYAGV Executive Director Leah Gunn Barrett said, “The first anniversary of the historic NY SAFE Act is an important moment to take stock of the great progress New York has made and the important work yet to be done. NYAGV and SLAIGNY will continue to work this session with the legislature and Governor Cuomo to keep our citizens, and particularly our children, safe from gun violence. We are confident that New York will continue to show other states and the federal government the way forward by passing common sense gun safety measures that will save lives.”

The 2014 legislative priorities include: Child Access Prevention:

* Require safe storage using a gun safe, trigger lock, or secure gun cabinet when a gun is not in the immediate possession or control of the owner, to prevent improper access and unintentional shooting, particularly by children.

* Microstamping: Require all semiautomatic handguns sold or delivered in New York to be equipped with a feature that imprints a unique code onto the shell casing every time a gun is fired, to assist in solving crimes and to deter straw purchasers and gun trafficking.

* One-Gun-a-Month Limit and Waiting Period for Purchases: Limit buyers to one handgun a month to reduce straw purchases and trafficking, and require a 10-day waiting period before a buyer takes possession of a firearm to give law enforcement officials enough time to perform a background check and help guard against impulsive acts of violence.

* Protection for Domestic Violence Victims: Empower law enforcement officers to remove firearms from the scene of a domestic violence dispute. Ban on 50-Caliber Military-Style Sniper Rifles: Ban the sale of certain .50 caliber rifles with very high power and long range, in the manner the SAFE Act banned sales of assault weapons with certain features.

* Better Use of Background Checks: Require dealers to report to law enforcement when failed background checks reveal that people have attempted to buy guns they are prohibited from owning. Require gun dealer employees handling weapons to pass background checks.


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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |