New York Is Coming For Your Guns (If You've Been Convicted Of Domestic Violence)
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 55% of all female homicide victims are killed by intimate partners. That fact is not only a good reason to remain a spinster, but also a very good reason to not let people who have been convicted of domestic violence have a freaking gun.
But we've got some nice time -- because the state of New York passed a bill on Friday that would tighten restrictions on gun ownership for those convicted of domestic violence.
Federally, the Lautenberg Amendment prohibits those with a record of domestic violence to buy a gun, but it's up to the states to figure out how to manage that, and many of them don't do a very good job of that. The background check system is flawed, and 13 states let domestic abusers keep the guns they have, which is not very helpful at all.
New York already has some of the better laws preventing domestic abusers from buying guns, but there were still a few loopholes, which this bill seeks to close.
Governor Cuomo explained this in a statement to the press:
Previously, New York law prohibited the possession of firearms for individuals convicted of a felony or for a limited number of misdemeanor "serious" offenses. However, this excluded many misdemeanor offenses which nobody could deny are in fact serious. To ensure no domestic abuser retains the ability to possess a firearm despite being convicted of a disturbing crime, the legislation rightly bolsters the list of "serious" crimes, which, upon conviction, require the loss of a gun license and the surrender of all firearms.
This legislation will also ensure individuals wanted for a felony or other serious offense are not able to obtain or renew a firearm license. Previously, despite being subject to an arrest warrant, an individual could still legally obtain a firearm license, all while being sought by the police. This change will make certain that the general public as well as the law enforcement who are actively seeking to arrest a wanted individual are not needlessly endangered by that individual obtaining new firearms.
He also noted the well-known connection between mass shootings and domestic violence.
In nine of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in United States history, including Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, the shooter had an existing record of committing violence against women, threatening violence against women, or harassing or disparaging women.
Not to mention lord knows how many serial killers. (I think it might even be all of them.) It's almost like there's some kind of connection between violence towards women and, well, violence.
New York is doing great, but there are still 32 states where it is possible to buy a gun without any kind of background check via private or online sales. Women in those states are 38% more likely to be murdered by an intimate partner. There are only 16 states that have taken steps to prevent stalkers from having guns. Since stalking is classified as a misdemeanor rather than a felony, those convicted of it don't always lose their right to have a gun. I think it is fair to say that, after domestic abusers, stalkers are pretty much the last people we want having guns.
This isn't the only good bill that already should have been a thing that New York has passed in the past week. The state legislature also passed a bill making it illegal for cops to have sex with detainees, on account of them having a habit of raping women in custody and then claiming it was consensual.
So, congrats to New York on working to make it just a little less terrifying to be a woman there! Although if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go scream into my pillow for a good ten minutes.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse