The state Senate this afternoon is set to approve a bill that would make a variety of changes to New York’s controversial gun-control law
The measure (S05837) faces an uphill future in the Democratic-led Assembly as Senate Republicans look to reform the SAFE Act, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democrats championed when it was approved in 2013.
Updated: The bill passed the Senate, 35-26.
“These are commonsense changes, administrative changes to the SAFE Act,” Seward said on the Senate floor.
Among the changes would include a repeal of a requirement that every purchaser of ammunition undergo a background check. The ammunition database that was part of the SAFE Act has yet to function, and the state allocated $27.7 million in 2013 to implement the law, including the creation of the database.
The bill, introduced late Friday, is sponsored by Sen. James Seward, a central New York Republican whose district includes the major gun manufacturing plant owned by Remington Arms.
Seward was one of six Republican senators from upstate who supported Sen. John Flanagan, R-Suffolk County, to succeed indicted Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
The bill also includes several other reform to the law.
It would amend the law to allow for the gifting of registered semiautomatic long guns to family members, who would then be required to undergo a background check.
Another change would no longer allow for gun registration to be made public. Currently, the gun licenses are public unless, as part of the SAFE Act, a gun owner applies to the information kept private.
The change would no longer consider the information public, yet the bill makes it explicit that statistical data on the number of registrations and recertifications would be public. Gun groups have successfully sued to have statistical information made public, but State Police have fought the requests.
Another provision of the SAFE Act that requires reporting mental-health issues involving gun owners would also be clarified.
The bill would aim to make the reporting of such cases more accurate by identifying reported people, changing the guidelines and simplifying the appeal process.
Another change would give counties more oversight of the license recertification process — not State Police. The recertification is required as of 2018 every five years, but State Police handling the process instead of counties has wrangled gun-rights groups.