From the Office of Amy Paulin, Assemblymember, District 88, New York State Assembly
Editor's note: Assemblymember Amy Paulin represents the 88th New York State Assembly District, which includes Scarsdale, Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Bronxville, Pelham, Pelham Manor, and parts of New Rochelle and White Plains.
Mar. 14, 2018: As part of a comprehensive package of bills to reduce gun violence, promote gun safety, and keep firearms from falling into the wrong hands, the New York State Assembly passed A.2406, sponsored by Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-88). The bill increases the time interval before a firearm, shotgun, or rifle may be sold to an individual whose background check requires additional investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Under current law, approximately 9 to 11% of the background checks for gun purchases utilizing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System ("NICS") do not come back as either “proceed” or “deny.” They come back designated as “delayed,” and the case is referred to an FBI examiner for additional investigation to determine if the buyer is in one of nine categories of prohibited purchaser. However, after three business days, if the background check still has not come back with a clear “proceed” or “deny” designation, the buyer can be provided the firearm at the dealer’s discretion.
Assemblymember Paulin’s bill would increase the time interval before the dealer has the discretion to hand over the firearm to 10 business days so that the FBI has sufficient time to complete its investigation.
“Most background checks come back quickly and cleanly from NICS,” said Assemblymember Amy Paulin. “My bill will not hinder a law-abiding citizen's ability to purchase of a gun. But I’ve talked to the FBI and on too many of these cases, they just need more time. Giving law enforcement time to do its job to keep guns out of the wrong hands ought to be an issue we can all be united around.”
The Gifford Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has nicknamed this issue with the background checks system the “Charleston loophole.” Dylann Roof, the confessed shooter at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, received a “delayed” designation on the background check when he purchased the weapon that he would later use in that tragedy. The NICS database had the information that Roof had a prior drug arrest but did not have the information that he had confessed to that charge, which would have been sufficient to deny his background check. An FBI examiner did not receive the case files from local authorities within the three business day window, and the dealer had discretion under the law to hand over the gun to Roof.
Similarly, persons who are on the FBI’s Terror Watch List will receive a “delayed” designation on their background checks. Under current federal law, being on the Terror Watch List in and of itself is not sufficient to deny an individual a gun, but it is a flag for the FBI to conduct more rigorous scrutiny of the individual’s background. This bill would extend the period of time in which that investigation could take place before the dealer would have discretion to proceed from three business days to ten.
“It is all too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on guns,” said Assemblymember Paulin, sponsor of one of the bills. “My bill would help rectify that here in New York State without impinging on the right of law-abiding individuals to do so.”
Pictured here: Amy Paulin, Assemblymember, District 88, New York State Assembly.
Photo courtesy Office of Assemblymember Amy Paulin
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes press releases, statements, and articles from local institutions, legislators, and candidates. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.