Groundbreaking Gun Safety Legislation

In an effort to curb the disturbing gun violence that has left communities in New York and across the country devastated, the Assembly passed groundbreaking, comprehensive gun-safety legislation that will ban dangerous assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, close the "gun show loophole," ensure that those who pose a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness do not have access to firearms and crack down on gun violence (A.2388 as amended by the new budget bill ).

Speaker Silver's statement and video on the NY SAFE Act can be viewed here.

Key provisions of the law
  • Strengthen New York's assault weapons ban
  • Ban high-capacity magazines
  • Increase criminal penalties for gun crimes
  • Address the mental-health aspect of gun safety
Banning more assault weapons
  • Strengthen New York's existing assault weapons ban to prohibit military-style weapons that include one or more features that increase the lethality of the weapon.
  • Create a grandfather clause for owners of currently legal semi-automatic assault weapons provided they apply to register them with the state police within one year and 90 days of the effective date of the new law and undergo a criminal background check. Such registrations must be recertified every five years.
Limiting high-capacity magazines and regulating ammunition
  • The law only allows magazines to be loaded with 7 rounds. However, since very few guns are currently sold with 7 round magazines, the sale and possession of magazines with a capacity of up to 10 rounds will continue to be legal.
  • End the current grandfather clause for high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Persons who currently legally possess such high capacity magazines will have one year from the effective date to sell or transfer them out of state or to a federally licensed firearms dealer.
  • All people purchasing ammunition will be required to undergo a state background check and present state-issued photo identification. This new requirement will take effect one year from the effective date of the new law.
Increasing criminal penalties

The legislation will increase the existing penalty for possession of a loaded firearm from 3.5 years to 5 years imprisonment when the defendant is also convicted of a drug sale or violent felony offense as part of the same transaction. Additionally, the penalty for possession of an unloaded firearm during the commission of a drug sale or violent felony will increase from a class A misdemeanor to a class D violent felony.
  • Increase the penalty for possession of an unloaded firearm from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony;
  • Increase the penalty for possession of a gun on school grounds from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony;
  • Clarify that an individual can be prosecuted for criminal facilitation for making available, sharing, selling, exchanging, giving or disposing of a community gun which helps another person commit a crime;
  • Create a new elevated crime of Aggravated Enterprise Corruption for commission of multiple class B felonies and other gun-related crimes, This new crime is a class A-I felony punishable by a mandatory life sentence with a minimum term of between 15 and 25 years;
  • Increase the penalty for purchasing a firearm on behalf of another person who is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm (known as a "straw purchase") from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony;
  • Increase the penalty for recklessly causing physical injury to a child with a firearm from a class A misdemeanor to a class D violent felony; and increase the penalty for failing to report a lost or stolen firearm and ammunition from a $100 fine to a class A misdemeanor.
  • Make murder of all first responders punishable as aggravated murder and require a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole.
Strengthening Kendra's Law
  • Extend the sunset provision of Kendra's Law from June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2017;
  • Require the evaluation of the need for Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) prior to the expiration of the order;
  • Require the county director of community services to notify the director in another county when a person subject to an AOT order has moved to that county;
  • Extend the maximum duration of an initial AOT order from 6 months to 1 year;
  • Require inmates being released to the community from a mental health hospital to undergo review for an AOT order.
Additional provisions
  • Require revocation or suspension of the gun license of an individual in cases where an order of protection has been issued and the court has found a substantial risk that the subject of such order may use or threaten to use a firearm unlawfully against the person protected by the order;
  • Establish a statewide database of handgun licenses to enable the state police to crosscheck the new state background check system to determine if any current licensees have been legally disqualified from possessing firearms under federal law;
  • Require mental-health professionals to report to law enforcement when they believe a person receiving mental-health services is a danger to themselves or others. Those who possess a firearm license would have their license revoked or suspended and be required to surrender their firearms;
  • Allow schools to qualify for building aid assistance if they choose to add electronic systems and hardened doors to increase safety;
  • Update the New York gun licensing statute to ensure those prohibited from possessing firearms on the federal level are not granted a gun license from the state;
  • Require re-certification of gun licenses on a 5-year cycle to include current name, date of birth, current address and the make, model, serial number and caliber of all firearms possessed;
  • Allow counties to keep the names and address of gun licensees confidential under certain circumstances;
  • Close the "gun show loophole" by requiring that an NICS background check is performed for all private sales of firearms, shotguns and rifles, unless the sale is between immediate family members; and
  • Require owners of firearms to safely store such weapons if he/she resides with a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under certain provisions of federal law. Local safe storage laws which impose additional requirements are not preempted by the new statewide safe storage provisions.