Greater Rochester State Delegation Pass Gun Safety and Reproductive Rights Legislation

The Greater Rochester State Delegation announced that they helped pass a gun safety legislative package and reproductive rights legislation to better safeguard New York communities and protect human rights.

“At the federal level, we’re seeing a sustained, decades-long push to undermine human rights like reproductive health access and block any and all commonsense gun legislation,” said Assemblymember Harry Bronson. “But here in New York, we’re taking action. The legislation we passed last week implements a host of gun safety measures – such as expanding the 2019 Red Flag law and raising the age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle to 21 – in the wake of the devastating mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas. We also advanced legislation to strengthen reproductive health rights in New York and ensure anti-choice states aren’t targeting individuals who come to our state to exercise their right to choose. While the other party seeks to roll back hard-fought rights and block essential legislation, New York State is fighting back.”

“I’m proud to be working with my colleagues in the Greater Rochester State Delegation to protect reproductive rights and strengthen gun safety laws. As we watch the federal government sit in a stalemate on these issues, here in New York we have acted swiftly to protect long fought-for progress for bodily autonomy and to help prevent future tragic events like what we saw in Buffalo, Uvalde, and so many more communities across the country.While I believe we can and must do more, we’ve taken key steps in the right direction,” said Senator Samra Brouk. "Together, we are making sure that New York remains not only a leader in gun safety legislation, but a beacon of hope for those living in states where their rights and autonomy are being called into question."

“In New York we don’t wait for the federal government to do the right thing, we lead when others won’t”, said Senator Jeremy Cooney. “As lives are being lost in mass shootings and women’s rights are being slowly chipped away, we took action in Albany. I was proud to join my Rochester colleagues in support of legislative packages to proactively address gun violence and mass shootings, and to ensure women will always have a say in their healthcare here in the Empire State. We know our work is not done, and I look forward to continued partnership with my colleagues in the Assembly and Senate as we work together to build a better New York”.

“For far too long communities across the country have reeled over extraordinarily tragic, hate-driven massacres like we’ve recently seen in Uvalde, Texas and our sister city, Buffalo, New York. This violence and heartbreaking destruction of innocent families can and must be prevented as we continue to pick up the pieces and move forward. The commonsense gun package of bills, passed in the state legislature last week included increasing the age to 21 for assault rifles purchase, stronger orders of protections and studying the effects of social media and hate groups on violence,” said Assemblymember Sarah Clark. “And I was also proud to support the reproductive rights legislation to reinforce women’s ability to make their own reproductive healthcare choices in New York, as well as expand access to historically underserved women. The work is far from over, but these reforms are a strong start and further prove New York state to be a leader in providing the support our communities and families deserve in order to thrive.”

Gun Safety Legislation

Among other wealthy, developed nations, the United States is an outlier on gun violence. When compared with these peer countries, the United States accounts for an astounding 83.7% of all firearm deaths and has a firearm homicide rate that’s nearly 25 times higher.[1] In 2020, firearm deaths overtook motor vehicle fatalities as the leading cause of death for American children and adolescents.[2] While New York is strengthening its laws this week, federal action is necessary to combat this issue, noted Bronson. In addition to the legislation, the state Legislature passed a concurrent resolution urging Congress to reinstate the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 (K.1028).

The gun safety package includes a measure to require all state and local law enforcement agencies to report seized or recovered guns to the criminal gun clearinghouse and provide relevant data for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) data sharing program and National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) (A.1023-A – S.4970A). It would also require gun dealers to implement a safety plan and prohibit unattended minors from accessing certain parts of the premises, as well as strengthen record-keeping requirements. Gun dealers would also be subject to New York State Police inspections every three years.

The package also expands the red flag law, which was implemented in 2019 and allows courts to issue an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) that prohibits a person who is determined to be a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm for up to one year (Ch. 19 of 2019). To strengthen this vital law, we passed legislation to allow more health care practitioners to petition the court and require police and district attorneys to file ERPO petitions upon credible information that an individual is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to themselves or others (A.10502 – S.9113A). The bill also clarifies that a report from a practitioner that an individual that may be at risk of self-harm or violence, which is concurred by a county mental health commissioner, must be considered when that individual applies for a firearm license.

The Assembly legislative package also includes measures that would create the crime of making a threat of mass harm and aggravated making a threat of mass harm as well as require social media platforms to have a clear and concise policy for responding to hateful conduct on their networks and easily accessible mechanisms to report this conduct (A.6716-A – S.89B, A.7865-A – S.4511A) The package also includes a measure to create a Task Force on Social Media and Violent Extremism within the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the role of social media platforms in promoting or facilitating extremism and domestic terrorism (A.10501 – S.9465).

“While social media has allowed us to more easily connect with friends and loved ones, it has also connected those who are united by hatred and violent extremism,” said Assemblymember Demond Meeks. “My legislation (A10501) will establish the Task Force on Social Media and Violent Extremism and help us to understand the ways these platforms have facilitated and promoted hate and domestic terrorism.”

In addition, we passed legislation that would:

  • require the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to determine if microstamping-enabled pistols are technologically viable and, if viable, establish programs to implement the technology and create the crime of unlawful sale of a non-microstamping-enabled firearm (A.7926-A – S.4116A);
  • eliminate the grandfathering of large-capacity ammunition-feeding devices that were lawfully possessed prior to the enactment of the 2013 SAFE Act or manufactured before 1994 (A.10428-A – S.9229A);
  • make it unlawful to sell or possess body vests for individuals who are not engaged in an eligible profession, such as law enforcement, and require sales of body vests be done in person (A.10497 –S.9407B);
  • require individuals to obtain a license before purchasing a semiautomatic rifle, which would also raise the age of purchase to 21 (A.10503 – S.9458); and
  • expand the definition of “firearm” in the Penal Law to include any weapon that is designed or can be converted to expel a projectile by action of an explosion (A.10504 – S.9456).

Reproductive Rights Legislation

New York State has always been a leader in the fight for women’s rights and will always fight for equality and reproductive freedom – regardless of what a far-right Supreme Court says. In 2019, the Legislature passed the Reproductive Health Act (Ch. 1), codifying Roe v. Wade into state law and ensuring the right to choose will never be abridged.

"Reproductive Rights are being threatened all across the country. While New York has previously taken steps to ensure that these rights are protected in our state, there is more we can do to help those seeking care from out of state,” said Assemblymember Jen Lunsford. “This year, the Assembly took steps to ensure that healthcare providers offering legal medical services in our state are protected from legal action in states that do not support reproductive freedom. We will continue to fight to ensure pregnant people everywhere can get the healthcare they need.”

To support individuals who live in states with anti-choice laws, we passed a bill to protect health care practitioners licensed in New York State and acting within their scope of practice from professional misconduct charges solely for performing, recommending or providing reproductive health services to patients from states where these services are illegal (A.9687-B – S.9079B). It further ensures applicants seeking licensure, certification or authorization in New York who were previously disciplined in another state for solely performing an abortion pursuant to public health law are not denied these important career accreditations on that basis alone.

Another bill protects health care providers and patients by prohibiting extradition and keeping law enforcement from arresting anyone performing or aiding the performance or procuring a legal abortion in New York (A.10372-A – S.9077A). Additionally, the bill prevents law enforcement from cooperating or providing information to out-of-state agencies and courts and county clerks from issuing subpoenas or orders to aid in depositions for out-of-state proceedings unless certain circumstances exist.

In addition, we also passed legislation that would:

  • Prohibit medical malpractice insurers from taking adverse action against a New York State provider solely because they legally provided reproductive care services to someone from out of state or via telehealth to a person who is out of state (A.9718-B – S.9080B);
  • Protect people from threats to their safety by adding reproductive health care services providers, employees, volunteers, patients and immediate family members of providers to the Address Confidentiality Program (A.9818-A – S.9384A); and
Allow a person to bring a cause of action in New York State when they can demonstrate an unlawful interference in exercising, facilitating, or attempting to exercise or facilitate a protected right within the state which resulted in litigation in any court in the United States or its territories (A.10094-A – S.9039A).