SYRACUSE N.Y. — Governor Kathy Hochul signed three bills on Thursday to combat the gun violence epidemic and to address the rise in ghost guns in New York communities.
“Gun violence is a public health and public safety crisis that must be dealt with aggressively,” said Gov. Hochul. “Working with partners at all levels, my administration will continue to crack down on the distribution and possession of dangerous weapons and put an end to the gun violence epidemic.”
Legislation S.13A/A.2666A prohibits the possession and sale of unfinished frames or receivers by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or dealer in firearms.
According to Gov. Hochul, unfinished receivers are used to form the lower part of a firearm and can be easily combined with other pieces, even by someone with little experience, to make fully functioning semi-automatic weapons.
RELATED | NY Attorney General Letitia James expected to announce decision on running for governor
The bill also prohibits the possession and sale of unserialized finished frames and receivers by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or firearms dealer.
“If you can’t pass a background check to get a gun, then you shouldn’t be able to get a gun – period,” said Senator Anna Kaplan. “For too long, the unfinished receiver loophole let anyone get their hands on all the parts needed to build an untraceable, unregistered AR-15 without ever going through a background check, but today, we're taking historic action here in New York to close that dangerous loophole for good."
Legislation S.14A/A.613A prohibits the sale of ghost guns and requires gunsmiths and firearms dealers to register and serialize firearms and unfinished frames or receivers they possess.
Ghost guns are guns that are unregistered and do not have serial numbers, making them incredibly difficult for law enforcement to trace.
These weapons often end up in the hands of purchasers with a criminal record or others who would not pass a required federal background check.
During the governor’s press conference, Senator Brad Hoylman said the state has seen a 479% increase in ghost gun seizures.
RELATED | 350 state school districts intend to hold vaccination events to get kids vaccinated
"Ghost guns have exploded in popularity as people have taken to the internet to evade New York's strong laws requiring background checks and licensing, to gain access to deadly weapons they can construct in the comfort and privacy of their own homes," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal.
Legislation S.7152/A.6522 adds firearms capable of being concealed and designed to resemble toys to the definition of a ‘disguised gun’ and prohibits their manufacture, design, or sale.
According to Gov. Hochul. Weapons capable of causing severe injury and death that resemble toys are unjustifiably deceptive and pose a clear threat to the safety of children who can mistake them for toys.
"The gun violence epidemic has stolen the lives of so many in our state and country, and we have only seen the problem grow worse in recent years," said Senator John Brooks. “No one should live in fear of gun violence, not when walking down the street, serving our communities in law enforcement, while learning at schools, spending time at home, or anywhere else.”
Watch the full press conference below: