By MICHAEL VIRTANEN
New York lawmakers are authorizing waits up to 30 days for gun buyers in the state to clear FBI background checks.
It was one of several new gun restrictions approved Tuesday by the now Democrat-controlled Assembly and Senate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to sign them into law, calling them common sense.
The background checks are intended to determine whether would-be buyers have felony or domestic violence convictions or determined mental illnesses that would prevent them from legally owning a gun.
Currently the waiting period is three days, and about 90 percent of applications are resolved in that time, said Assembly member Amy Paulin, a lead sponsor of the bill.
However, it can take the FBI longer to find old felonies or misdemeanor domestic violence convictions, Paulin said. The remaining roughly 10 percent, about 42,000 applications annually in New York, aren’t resolved in three days, she said.
Under current law those buyers can get the guns anyway, Cuomo said. “If you’re not cleared in three days you have the right to buy the gun,” he said.
Other gun legislation passed Tuesday by both houses and headed for Cuomo’s signature will prohibit possessing bump stocks that enable semiautomatic weapons to fire more rapidly. Another bill will establish a court procedure for seizing guns for up to a year from someone not convicted of a prohibitive crime but judged to pose a severe threat of harming himself or others.
Legislation that was held back from floor votes Tuesday for minor revisions would require specific safe storage of a rifle, shotgun or other firearm by owners living with someone under 16 years old.
That would require locking the gun in an appropriate depository or using a gun lock to so it can’t be fired. Violations would be criminal misdemeanors.
Current law requires that storage by gun owners living with someone prohibited from having a firearm.
According to sponsors, in 2011, guns killed 997 New Yorkers, including 466 homicides, 505 suicides, 1 unintentional shootings and 14 that were considered legal.