In the aftermath of the recent high-profile shootings, a series of five bills introduced in the New York State Senate would make New York into the state with the toughest gun control laws in the country. The new laws are intended as a response to the recent uptick in violent crimes.
However, these laws are not a surefire guarantee that violent crimes caused by guns will decrease; many guns allegedly used for committing violent crimes may not be purchased in New York, but instead are smuggled in from other states with looser gun regulations. The New York Police Department estimates that 68 percent of illegal guns they recover do not originate within New York City. This fact could hamper the effectiveness of the proposed legislation.
These proposed laws would require:
- A 10-day waiting period for all gun purchases
- All gun sales to be reported within one day to the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services
- Only dealers with permits to be allowed to sell ammunition
- All gun purchasers take a gun safety class
- New York residents would only be allowed to purchase one gun per month
- Background checks to be conducted for all gun purchases between two private citizens
Regardless, the renewed focus on weapons crimes could have an effect on those facing weapons charges. In 2005, New York enacted tough punishments for gun traffickers, creating three separate felonies for gun trafficking and reducing the number of guns required to charge someone with trafficking. In addition to jail time, the consequences for weapons offenses can include issues with employment, finances or immigration. The direct and indirect consequences for a weapons crime conviction are extremely severe.
Still, any defendant charged with a weapons crime is entitled to an aggressive legal defense. Those suspected of a crime can challenge the validity of the charge, and may be able to dispute the admissibility of evidence and question the state's witnesses.
Source: Metrofocus, "Would a New N.Y. State Law Really Halt Gun Runners?" John Farley, Aug. 8, 2012