New York will require a 30-day waiting period for people who want to buy a gun in the state and are not immediately approved through the federal background check system.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law Monday. He also signed a bill that will close a loophole in existing law that allowed the ownership or sale of so-called bump stocks, an attachment that increases the firing speed of a semiautomatic rifle.
The measures are the latest this year by Cuomo and the state Legislature to bolster gun-control laws in New York and build on the SAFE Act, approved in 2013.
“For too long gun violence has plagued communities across our nation and while the federal government turns a blind eye, New York continues leading the way forward to protect our families and our children,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement.
Expanding background waits
The expansion of the waiting period was among a half-dozen gun bills the Democrat-led Legislature approved in January.
The measure, supporters said, was spurred in part by a mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, when the shooter was sold a gun through the system by error.
Current federal law requires gun dealers to conduct a National Instant Criminal Background Check System background check on a potential purchaser prior to selling a firearm.
The check immediately provides the dealer with one of three possible notifications: “proceed,” “denied,” or “delayed.”
The new law applies to the cases in which when a request is “delayed.”
State law had required a dealer to wait three days before completing the sale, even though the FBI may still have been conducting a review of the customer’s records.
The problem, lawmakers said, is that a sale can sometimes be completed before a person’s review is finished and before the FBI rules a person is ineligible for a gun.
With the new law, a 30-day waiting period will be placed on any outstanding applications still being reviewed by the FBI.
“Common sense gun safety reform will save lives, period. Stronger background checks will keep guns away from dangerous people,” Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, D-Queens, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement.
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, said sometimes the FBI simply needs more time to review cases.
“This law will build on our already strong gun laws by ensuring that law enforcement has sufficient time to complete a background check without impinging on the rights of law-abiding citizens,” Paulin, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement.
Banning Bump Stocks
The ban on bump stocks gained prominence after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people. The shooter used the device.
The devices have been deemed dangerous because they can essentially make semi-automatic weapons into machine guns, allowing shooters to fire ammunition faster than they could otherwise.
Since machine guns are already banned in New York, Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed in January to also ban bump stocks.
The law bans the possession, manufacture, transportation, shipment and sale of any items that accelerates the firing rate of firearms, rifles or shotguns.
“There is absolutely no need for military-grade weaponry on the streets nor homes of New York,” said Sen. Luis Sepúlveda, D-Bronx, the bill’s sponsor.