January 15, 2021
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his proposal to prevent individuals with active warrants for a felony or serious misdemeanor offense from purchasing guns as part of the 2021 State of the State agenda. Under the Governor’s proposal, New York State will close a federal loophole that was created when the Trump Department of Justice reinterpreted an existing firearms law to mean only individuals who have fled from one state to another for the purpose of evading prosecution while subject to an active or imminent arrest warrant would be prevented from purchasing a firearm, while those subject to an arrest warrant who remain in state are free to buy guns. With this action, someone who is subject to an outstanding warrant for a felony or serious misdemeanor offense, but who has not crossed state lines to evade arrest, would once again be flagged in the National Instant Background Check System and be prevented from purchasing a gun.
“As COVID-19 continues to exacerbate the gun violence epidemic in America, the state of New York is continuing to build on the strongest gun safety laws in the nation and putting more safeguards in place to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals,” Governor Cuomo said. “We will do everything in our power to protect our communities and combat this violence and destruction in all of its forms.”
Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has passed the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, including the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act in 2013, which prevents criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying a gun by requiring universal background checks on gun purchases, increases penalties for those who use or possess illegal guns, and imposes the toughest assault weapon ban in the country.
The Governor has built on New York’s nation-leading gun laws with comprehensive legislation to: extend the background check waiting period; ban bump stocks; ban undetectable guns, including 3D-printed guns; expand firearm safe storage laws; prevent school districts from arming teachers; establish statewide regulations for gun buyback programs; and create a red flag procedure enabling concerned family members, educators, and law enforcement to seek a temporary order removing guns from individuals deemed to pose a risk to themselves or others. These laws have helped make New York the safest big state in the country.