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ElmiraTelegram

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation To Further Prevent Mentally Ill People From Getting Firearms

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ElmiraTelegram    124

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.2438/A.1213) closing a loophole to give law enforcement access to out-of-state records to help prevent the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining a firearm license in New York. Under current law, individuals can apply for a firearm license in the county in which they reside, regardless of the location of the individual's permanent residence. Before a firearm license is issued, individuals must submit to a background check, but current rules often prevent access to out-of-state records pertaining to people who are dangerously mentally ill, and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System only flags people who have been involuntarily committed.As a result, the current system does not prevent dangerously mentally ill people who have not been involuntarily committed from applying for a firearm license in New York - this new law closes that loophole.

Additionally the Governor signed a measure allowing local and state law enforcement officers more access to an individual's information on a firearm license application (S.6160/A.7739). 

"While Washington stands idly by and allows a gun violence epidemic to tear our nation apart at the seams, causing more and more families to grieve and children to grow up without their parents, New York is leading the way and enacting smart, common sense gun safety laws to help prevent these needless tragedies," Governor Cuomo said. "These measures continue to build on our nation-leading gun laws by helping keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals and providing law enforcement with the tools and knowledge they need to keep our communities safe from situations that may involve a deadly firearm."

Access to Home State Records (S.2438/A.1213)

Individuals can apply for a firearm license in the county in which they reside, regardless of the location of the individual's permanent residence. Before a firearm license is issued, individuals must submit to a background check, but current rules often prevent access and consideration of out-of-state records pertaining to people who are dangerously mentally ill, and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, only flags people who have been involuntarily committed.Therefore, when dangerously mentally ill people who have not been involuntarily committed apply for a firearm license in New York, there is little chance under current law for a complete and thorough background check. This new law closes that loophole by allowing law enforcement to review out-of-state records of dangerously mentally ill people before granting a firearm license.

Access to Information on Firearm License Applications (S.6160/A.7739)

Under current law, handgun license holders and applicants are able to request that their application information be exempt from public disclosure, which creates a loophole denying law enforcement real-time information that they would otherwise have when responding to a call. Not knowing whether an individual has a gun or if a gun is likely on the premises puts law enforcement officers in potential danger, particularly in domestic violence incidents where they must enter a home without any knowledge of whether a gun is present.

This new law grants law enforcement officers access to this critical information, allowing them to take extra precautions to provide for their safety and the safety of others.

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