Rights Delayed, Rights Denied: New York Signs 30-Day Waiting Period for Gun Purchases
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a 30-day waiting period requirement into law last week.
This waiting period applies to firearms purchases that are not instantly approved by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
In a statement during the bill’s signing, Cuomo proclaimed “For too long gun violence has plagued communities across our nation and while the federal government turns a blind eye, New York continues leading the way forward to protect our families and our children.”
Generally speaking, when a gun dealer runs a background check on a buyer, the system will produce three results:
- The buyer passed the background check.
- The buyer failed the background check
- FBI needs more time to carry out the check.
Background checks are frequently delayed is because the buyer has a common name.
Current law stipulates that dealers wait for three days before completing a firearm sale to a customer if the FBI is not able to finish the background check.
Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris sponsored this bill and believes that this waiting period will save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
“Common sense gun safety reform will save lives, period. Stronger background checks will keep guns away from dangerous people,” Gianaris declared at the bill’s signing ceremony.
New York lawmakers cited the Charleston shooting of 2015 as their motivation for passing this bill. In this case, a white supremacist entered the church and killed nine church members.
John Crump of Ammoland raises some interesting points about this rationale.
The New York legislators assert that the shooter bought his gun before the FBI completed his background check. They argue that if there was a 30-day waiting period, the FBI could have kept the perpetrator from acquiring a handgun.
Crump argues that the legislators’ argument is fallacious:
The truth is the FBI approved the purchase of the gun even though the killer was a prohibited person. He had a conviction on a felony drug charge. An unnamed FBI examiner turned up the arrest, but FBI did not have a record of the conviction. If South Carolina had a law similar to New York’s new law, it would have not prevented the shooting.
New York is one of the most anti-gun states in the nation, so the passage of this law is to be expected.
According to Guns & Ammo magazine, New York is ranked in 51st place—dead last—for best states for gun owners.