State legislature passes two gun control bills, four more pending

Posted 6/15/24

State legislators have passed two gun control bills, with four more currently sitting in committee in the Assembly.

Of the bills that passed, both are now awaiting signature from Governor Kathy …

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State legislature passes two gun control bills, four more pending


State legislators have passed two gun control bills, with four more currently sitting in committee in the Assembly.

Of the bills that passed, both are now awaiting signature from Governor Kathy Hochul.

“Gun violence has gone beyond a critical point in our nation, turning everyday places into sites of unimaginable tragedy and cutting our children’s lives short. The measures we are taking today demonstrate our unwavering commitment to protecting our communities and ensuring that no parent, child, group or person has to live in fear of gun violence. By enacting these common-sense reforms, we are taking further significant steps towards creating a safer New York for all. I commend all the bill authors for their commitment to curbing gun violence and stopping needless tragedies," Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins said.

According to legislation, S.7392A and company bill A.7555A relates "to the creation of a public nuisance created by the sale, manufacturing, distribution, importing and marketing of firearms."

Critics of the legislation say it is an attempt to create a "chain of liability" that will allow anyone affected by firearm violence to file civil lawsuits against manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and private parties involved in firearm manufacturing and distribution.

The move comes just over two years after families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 agreed to a $73 million settlement in a lawsuit against Remington Firearms, which manufactured the rifle used in the shooting.

An additional bill, S.8589 and A.7717B relates to extreme risk protection orders. The legislation, which many say is an extension of the existing "red flag laws," will expand the class of petitioners.

Under the legislation, the list of petitioners will be expanded to include school  teachers,  school guidance counselors, school psychologists,  school  social  workers,  school nurses, or "other school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative  license  or  certificate,

and  full  or  part-time  compensated school employees are required to hold a temporary coaching license or professional coaching certificate."

Red flag laws have been under heavy scrutiny nationwide, with numerous lawsuits attempting to overturn such legislation. In New York State, at least three such lawsuits are still currently active, though none have yet reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

Four other bills are currently still in the works as well, though each faces hurdles in committee with the Assembly.

A 10-day wait period under S.4818 and A.5696 is one of the bills in question. The legislation passed the senate by a 42-19 vote along party lines.

Another hotly contested bill, S.8479 and A.9862 seeks to require payment card processors to establish a specific merchant category code for firearm dealers.

Similar legislation at the federal level was struck down last year as Republicans call the move an attempt to "blackball peaceable citizens."

Gun rights advocates say the bill is "intrusive and a massive violation of privacy" that is "a type of data collection used to create registries and blackball gun owners" who may seek loans from banking institutions that also issue such cards.

A third pending bill, S.2086 and A.565, would establish a voluntary waiver of the right to purchase firearms, rifles and shotguns.

Though state officials are poised to move forward with the legislation, gun rights groups say that citizens can never waive a constitutionally guaranteed right. Much like an individual's Fourth Amendment right that protects citizens from searches and seizures that are deemed unreasonable under the law, critics of the legislation say that an individual's right to keep and bear firearms cannot be surrendered under a plea deal.

The fourth bill still pending in committee with the Assembly is new legislation that would require certification of instructors to be done by the Department of Criminal Justice Services.

Under the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA), which was passed in 2022, individuals seeking a concealed carry license are required to undergo an 18-hour course that includes 2-hours of live-fire training.

Instructors must meet specific requirements and carry certain certifications in order to teach the necessary courses, however if S.138A and A.8883A were to pass, instructors would have to meet an entirely new set of criteria as set forth by the DCJS beginning in 2026.

Gun rights groups say the legislation hangs in the balance with numerous lawsuits challenging such provisions in the CCIA, one of which includes Antonyuk v. James, a case that has ties to St. Lawrence County.

Antonyuk v. James is one that has been playing out even prior to Oct. 2022 when St. Lawrence County Attorney Steve Button began his work of counsel. St. Lawrence County legislators approved his involvement in the case, saying the lawsuit could have a direct impact on the rights of citizens in the county.

After months of back and forth and multiple writ of certiorari filings, Supreme Court Justices conferenced on June 6 to decide whether the court will hear the legal challenge.

There is no word yet as of press time if Justices will hear the case.