The New York State Legislature passed a bill last week that would prohibit convicted domestic abusers from buying and owning all guns.
“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,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said in a press release on Saturday. “This legislation builds on our gun laws ― already the strongest in the nation ― to make New York safer and stronger.”
Cuomo had advocated for the measure as part of his 2018 Women’s Agenda. It passed both houses of the legislature by wide margins: 85-32 in the State Assembly and 41-19 in the State Senate.
The legislation requires convicted domestic abusers to surrender all firearms, closing a loophole in previous legislation that required abusers to surrender only handguns. In addition, New York law previously stated that domestic abusers convicted of a felony or a “serious” offense were prohibited from owning guns. The new measure adds some assault and battery charges to the list of applicable “serious” offenses.
Laws like this address a very real problem across the country. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500 percent, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Every 16 hours, a woman in the U.S. is fatally shot by a current or former intimate partner, according to FBI and state crime data. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in a 2017 report that firearms were used in 54 percent of all female homicides.
“The recent wave of mass shootings is horrifying, and the federal government’s failure to act on any form of meaningful gun safety laws is unconscionable,” Cuomo said in the press release.
In addition to reducing individual female homicides, the New York legislation could also prevent future mass shootings. The majority of mass shootings, defined as four or more people being fatally shot, involve domestic violence. According to a 2017 report from NPR, 54 percent of mass shootings between 2009 and 2016 were carried out by someone who had previously committed violence against an intimate partner.