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Paulin's Domestic Violence Gun-Surrender Bill Passes

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin's bill, requiring individuals to surrender firearms if he or she has been convicted of a domestic violence crime, has passed.
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin's bill, requiring individuals to surrender firearms if he or she has been convicted of a domestic violence crime, has passed. Photo Credit: File

SCARSDALE, N.Y. -- Legislation proposed by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-88, was passed unanimously by the state Assembly on Tuesday.

The bill, A.5257, requires individuals to surrender any firearms, including rifles, shotguns, black-powder rifles or muzzleloading firearms, he or she owns when he or she is convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime.

“The law right now has a big hole,” Paulin said.  “When a person is convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, he or she cannot buy or possess a firearm under federal law. But if he already owns a gun and he’s convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, there’s nothing in the law that says he has to give up his guns. That makes no sense at all.”

Current law provides that when a person is convicted of a felony or serious offense or an order of protection is issued for victims of family offenses, the court must revoke that person’s firearms license and all firearms possessed by the person must be immediately surrendered. Misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence are not included.

“We need to close this loophole so we can better protect those who are most in danger of being hurt, victims of domestic violence,” Paulin said. “The risk of leaving a weapon in the hands of an abuser is simply too great.” Based on statewide poll results released recently, 78 percent of New York voters and 67 percent of gun owners in New York support the surrender of guns by those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Intimate partner homicide is the most frequent type of domestic homicide. In 2013, nearly one-quarter of the victims in all homicides in the state had a domestic relationship with their offenders.

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