Last month, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled the first proposal of the 2018 State of the State: remove all firearms from those who commit 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 fire arms and will add measures to keep firearms out of the hands of those who commit domestic violence with the goal of preventing additional tragedies.
The Governor’s proposal seeks to close loop holes that currently exist in our state laws, including prohibiting the possession of firearms for individuals convicted of any domestic violence offense. Currently NY law only prohibits possession of firearms of those convicted of felonies or “serious offenses.” This excludes certain misdemeanor offenses like strangulation and assault and battery. Cuomo’s proposed legislation will include all domestic violence misdemeanors.
The Governor is also looking to close the loophole that currently exists with the surrender of firearms when an order of protection is issued. Currently, New York State requires surrender of hand guns for either (1) an order of protection issued by a judge or (2) a firearm license suspension/revocation due to a felony or “serious” offense conviction or a mental health disqualification by a health professional. However, this surrender does not always apply to long guns, such as rifles and shotguns. To correct this loophole, Governor Cuomo will be proposing legislation to apply the same surrender procedures to long guns.
Lastly, the Governor is looking to mandate the surrender of firearms when an order of protection is issued. Currently, judges issue orders of protection in domestic violence cases after an individual is arrested, but before they are convicted. These orders result in the suspension of firearm licenses. However, these orders are issued at the judges’ discretion and may not be occur in every domestic violence case. To ensure consistency, the State proposes legislation requiring that all judges mandate the surrender of all firearms – hand guns and long guns – and suspend any firearm license until the case is resolved.
Our Executive Director, Mary Murphy, was asked about this proposed legislation back in December by Spectrum News. Hear Mary’s comments as well as learn more about the Governor’s proposal by watching the video on Spectrum News here.