Convicted domestic abusers in New York are now required by law to turn in all firearms, expanding a state law banning them from owning handguns. New York passed the original legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.
According to a press release from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, which announced the amended law on Saturday, the legislation also expands the list of “serious” misdemeanors—including domestic violence– that prohibit a convicted felon from owning a firearm, and ensures that suspects wanted for serious offenses (including felonies) cannot “obtain or renew a firearm license.”
Citing a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cuomo told CNN, “Half of the women who are murdered in this country are murdered by an intimate partner.” According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 25 percent of women and 14 percent of men have been victims of “severe physical violence” by an intimate partner in their lifetime, and research has shown that if a domestic abuser has access to a gun, the risk of homicide goes up by 500 percent. There is also a link between domestic violence and mass shootings: According to Everytown for Gun Safety, in “57 percent of mass shootings (61 of 107 incidents), the shooter killed a current or former spouse or intimate partner or other family member.”
Currently, federal law still permits convicted domestic abusers to keep guns for all sort of reasons. The New York law is a strong step forward, but it’s a drop in the bucket until Congress moves to enact such protections nationwide. Safety shouldn’t be contingent on where you live.