New York will no longer allow domestic abusers to have guns
America has a gun problem. We have more mass shootings than every other civilized country, and after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the debate over gun control has been reignited. At the March For Our Lives, hundreds of thousands of people descended upon Washington D.C. to demand lawmakers pass sensible legislation to stop the epidemic of gun violence. But what exactly should that be? We've heard a lot of ideas, from banning assault weapons to closing the loopholes on background checks to arming teachers in schools.
While we wait to see what the federal government will do, states are taking action. A new law in New York just passed that will prohibit convicted domestic abusers from owning or purchasing firearms. Under the previous law, passed after the Sandy Hook shooting, domestic abusers were prohibited from owning revolvers and pistols. Now it's not just handguns; they will have to turn over all of their firearms.
In a press release, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, "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. This legislation builds on our gun laws -- already the strongest in the nation -- to make New York safer and stronger."
The new law aims to prevent dangerous people from getting weapons."Half of the women who are murdered in this country are murdered by an intimate partner," Cuomo told CNN. Indeed, according to a 2011 FBI report, 53% of women who died from gunshots were killed by an abusive partner or family member. What's more, NPR reported that 54% of mass shootings were committed by someone who was previously convicted of domestic abuse. While every man with a gun isn't a threat to a woman, there is a clear link between domestic abuse and gun violence. These new restrictions could save lives, and prevent more mass shootings from occurring.
"The recent wave of mass shootings is horrifying," said Cuomo, "and the federal government's failure to act on any form of meaningful gun safety laws is unconscionable." He adds that "Legitimate gun owners can still own a gun."
Gun rights advocates frequently say that the world would be safer if more people were carrying firearms. However, New York has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, and one of the lowest rates of gun violence. In fact, USA Today reported that out of all 50 states, New York ranks 48th for for gun violence - pretty impressive, when you consider it's one of the most populous states in the nation.
Will other states follow New York's lead, or will it will be an outlier? It seems sensible to make it more difficult for dangerous people to get their hands on firearms. However, people are passionate about their guns in America, and often see any restriction as tantamount to "taking everyone's guns away." In New York, that's now true, but only for those convicted of domestic abuse.
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