New York passes law to take guns away from more domestic violence offenders

PHOTO: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hands a pen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Aalayah Eastmond, left, as he signs a bill at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, that removes guns from domestic abusers, May 1, 2018, in New York. PlayRichard Drew/AP
WATCH New law to take guns away from more domestic violence offenders

New York lawmakers have tightened the state's gun laws, specifically focusing on keeping weapons out of the hands of domestic violence offenders.

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The new measure increases the number of crimes prompting such gun confiscation.

"In a time when gun violence continues to relentlessly torment communities across the country while our federal government refuses to act, New York must lead the charge to end this epidemic once and for all," Gov. Cuomo Andrew said in a statement. "With this legislation, we can sever the undeniable connection between domestic abuse and deadly gun violence, and continue to build upon the strongest gun laws in the nation."

The state already had laws in place banning people convicted of a felony or "a limited number of misdemeanor 'serious' offenses, excluding many misdemeanor offenses that are undeniably serious" from possessing firearms, according to a news release from the governor's office.

The new bill, which was signed by Cuomo Tuesday, helps "to ensure no domestic abuser in New York retains the ability to possess a firearm once convicted of a disturbing crime," according to the release.

PHOTO: Guns lie in a booth during a gun show. Michele Eve Sandberg/AFP via Getty Images
Guns lie in a booth during a gun show.

Nico Bocour, the state legislative director for gun violence prevention group Giffords, said they were "grateful" for the move.

"Women are five times more likely to die in domestic violence situations where a gun is present, so it is critical to see the elected officials of New York take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of victims and their families," Bocour said in a statement to ABC News.

"We hope more states take up similar laws and look forward to working with those who choose to do so," she said.

Prior to the new law in New York, the nonprofit Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence reported there were 27 states with laws that allow weapons to be taken from abusers but only after they have become the subject of a protective order.

PHOTO: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hands a pen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Aalayah Eastmond, left, as he signs a bill at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, that removes guns from domestic abusers, May 1, 2018, in New York. Richard Drew/AP
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hands a pen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Aalayah Eastmond, left, as he signs a bill at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, that removes guns from domestic abusers, May 1, 2018, in New York.

The new law in New York is not the first to take action in regard to domestic violence offenders in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in Florida in February. In early March, Oregon passed a law banning people convicted of stalking or domestic violence, or under a restraining order, from buying or owning guns or ammunition.

Beyond the bill expanding the list of crimes that would prompt firearms being removed from a person’s possession, Cuomo has also introduced legislation to extend the waiting period for purchasing a gun from three days to 10.

Specifically, the legislation would delay the approval of sales for people who are not instantly approved or denied through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

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