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Gov. Andrew Cuomo today signed legislation to establish an up to 30-day waiting period for individuals who are not immediately approved to purchase a firearm through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and to close existing statutory loopholes to prohibit ownership or sale of a bump stock.

“For too long gun violence has plagued communities across our nation and while the federal government turns a blind eye, New York continues leading the way forward to protect our families and our children,” Cuomo said in a press release.

“By signing these measures into law we are strengthening our nation-leading gun laws – banning devices whose sole purpose is to create the most bloodshed in the shortest timeframe and providing law enforcement the tools they need to stop firearms from falling into dangerous hands.”

In February, the governor signed into law the “Red Flag Bill,” also known as the extreme risk protection order bill, which prevents individuals who show signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing any kind of firearm.

Extending the background check waiting period

Current federal law requires gun dealers to conduct a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check on a potential purchaser prior to selling a firearm, which immediately provides the dealer with one of three possible notifications, the governor said. These notifications include “proceed,” “denied,” or “delayed.” In the case of a “delayed” response, the dealer must wait three days before completing the sale. The FBI may continue to investigate the individual past the three-day timeframe but oftentimes by the time law enforcement has determined that the potential purchaser is ineligible, the sale has already been completed. By extending the waiting period up to 30 days, law enforcement is provided with sufficient time to complete a background check and help ensure that only those eligible to purchase and own a firearm are able to do so, the governor said.

The bill passed the state senate by a vote of 40-23 and the assembly by a vote of 85-52. First District Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Second District Assembly Member Anthony Palumbo both voted no. First District Assembly Member Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) voted yes.

Banning bump stocks

“In 2017, bump stocks and other devices that accelerate the rate of fire of firearms came to national attention after a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada that killed 58 people. These devices are attached to semi-automatic weapons and allow shooters to fire ammunition faster than any human could,” the governor’s press release said.

“Machine guns and firearms that simulate machine guns are already illegal under New York law, because of the immense public safety risks these weapons pose,” according to the press release. “Bump stocks and similar devices pose a similar threat to public safety, and this legislation will prohibit the possession, manufacture, transportation, shipment and sale of any items that accelerate the firing rate of firearms, rifles or shotguns,” the governor’s press release said.

This measure passed both chambers of the state legislature by wide margins — 49-14 in the senate and 134-11 in the assembly —with the support of the three lawmakers representing the East End.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor and attorney. Her work has been recognized with numerous journalism awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She was also honored in 2020 with a NY State Senate Woman of Distinction Award for her trailblazing work in local online news. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.