On Saturday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that gun access for convicted domestic abusers in New York will be even tighter than in the past. From now on, Cuomo said, people convicted of domestic abuse will have to surrender not only their handguns but also all kinds of firearms.
The amended legislation is part of Cuomo's 2018 Women's Agenda, which focuses on improving local safety for the women of New York as well as addressing their health-based, educational, and family planning concerns among other needs. The governor's proposal won with a 41-19 Senate vote and a solid 85-32 vote in the New York State Assembly. While calling mass shootings in the United States "horrifying" and criticizing Donald Trump's administration for its "failure to act on any form of meaningful gun safety," CNN reported that Cuomo said,
New York is once again leading the way to prevent gun violence, and with this common sense reform, break the inextricable link between gun violence and domestic violence. This legislation builds on our gun laws—already the strongest in the nation—to make New York safer and stronger.
And according to the governor's press release, the law amends a previous legislation that was formed and passed after the tragic Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, which killed 26 people. Previously, the law forbade convicted domestic abusers from possessing handguns but going forward, convicted people will have to turn in all of their firearms such as shotguns, rifles, and other items. According to the governor's press release, the decision was to "bolster" the list of serious offenses. While convicted domestic abusers were already in the list, restricted access only applied to handguns like glocks. Now it'll include all kinds of firearms, including rifles and shotguns.
While speaking with CNN on Saturday, Cuomo pointed to domestic violence being a recurring theme among shooters. His office told CNN that 35 domestic killings in New York were carried out by firearms. With this law, that could change.
"Half of the women who are murdered in this country are murdered by an intimate partner," he said. The New Yorker governor was referring to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study on intimate partner violence and homicides. According to the study, "over half of all female homicides (55.3 percent) for which circumstances were known were intimate partner violence-related."
Domestic violence and shootings have gained more attention with reports like that from Huffington Post's senior reporter Melissa Jeltsen. Jeltsen published a piece showing that from 2015 to late 2017, there had been 46 mass shootings. Out of those 46, 27 of the incidents (that's 59 percent) were committed by perpetrators previously red-flagged for domestic violence.
Cuomo's measure arrives slightly over a month after a February school shooting killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Law enforcement authorities said that the shooter used an assault rifle during the incident. The shooting has sparked nationwide protests and a student-led movement that demands better gun control at federal and state levels.
Cuomo's move to tighten firearm access in the state has been met with support online. Some social media users have said that such a measure shouldn't be limited to state legislation and should become part of federal law.
As it stands, New York has one of the lowest rates of firearm deaths in the United States. Ultimately, Cuomo's measure could mean better living conditions for women who, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, are more likely than men to be exposed to domestic abuse. Now with this newly amended law, domestic abusers will no longer have access to other firearms in addition to pistols and handguns.