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Gov. Cuomo signs bills closing ‘dangerous’ gun law loopholes as Congress ‘stands idly by’ in the wake of mass shootings

2019-09-04

Gov. Cuomo seen signing a bill into law in Manhattan in July. (Danielle Hyams/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Gov. Cuomo signed a couple of loophole-plugging gun control bills into law Tuesday, declaring that New York is “leading the way” toward curbing gun violence.

The two pieces of state legislation — the first of which tackles a mental health loophole relating to gun buyers from out-of-state while the second one has to do with firearm licensing — build on other gun control measures enacted in recent years, such as the SAFE Act and the Red Flag law, according to Cuomo.

“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,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The first bill, which was co-sponsored by state Democratic Sen. Anna Kaplan of Great Neck, mandates that gun buyers have to sign a waiver allowing state law enforcement to review any out-of-state records of treatment for mental health issues.

Under current rules, New York residents already have to submit their state records for such mental health sweeps, but accessing out-of-state records, especially if they are the result of voluntary treatment, can be tricky. The new law makes sure state authorities can now easily access such records.

“This bill closes a dangerous loophole in our gun license background check process, ensuring that part-time New York residents buying a gun receive the same thorough review as full-time residents,” Kaplan said.

The second measure plugs a loophole that allows gun owners to opt out of having their weapon licenses submitted in public record databases, preventing police officers from knowing whether there’s a firearm at any given residence before responding to a domestic 911 call.

“This law will eliminate those gaps and allow law enforcement to take extra precautions to provide for their safety and the safety of others in the home," said Democratic Assemblywoman Amy Paulin of Westchester.

The pair of bills were signed into law as the nation reels from a scourge of gun violence.

A gunman fatally shot seven people and wounded dozens more in a horrifying shooting in the sleepy west Texas town of Odessa on Saturday.

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That massacre came less than a month after gunmen in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, shot and killed more than 30 people.

Despite the senseless violence, Republican leaders in Congress and President Trump have been hard pressed to commit to what gun control advocates call “common sense” legislation, such as mandatory universal background checks.