New York continues to lead among states seeking strong gun safety laws, but there is more work to be done according to a new state analysis by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. New York received a B+ and ranked fifth in this year’s “2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter,” produced by both organizations.
“New York passed The New York SAFE Act in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy because the research confirms that strong laws help keep people safer from gun violence,” said NYAGV Executive Director Leah Gunn Barrett New York State has the fourth lowest gun death rate in the nation, a testament to its strong gun safety laws.
“We know state gun laws fill critical gaps in our federal law, but there is still work to be done when anyone can go to a neighboring state and evade New York’s strong gun laws such as universal background checks on gun and ammunition sales,” added Barrett. “We know that 90% of recovered crime guns in NYC and 68% statewide flow from states with weak gun laws. That is why we need Congress to finish the job and extend background checks to all guns sales.” Currently, guns purchased at gun shows and online, roughly 40% of all gun sales, do not have to go through a federal background check. This makes it easier for anyone with intent to do harm to cross state lines and obtain a gun with no questions asked.
The deadly shooting in Newtown prompted eight states, including New York, to pass major gun reforms in 2013.
New York and four other states passed new laws requiring background checks on all gun sales. In addition, four states approved provisions requiring owners to report lost or stolen firearms to police, while three states enacted laws aimed at strengthening record-keeping and background check requirements for ammunition sales.
“When states act to pass strong gun laws, those gun laws benefit all our citizens and send a message to Congress that is it time to act. States like New York are leading the way on gun reform and creating a safer nation,” added Barrett.
The state scorecard ranks all 50 states by letter grades on laws that have been equated with reducing firearm injury and death.
States received points for having effective laws in each policy area, with stronger laws receiving more points. States lost points for irresponsible measures that increase the likelihood of gun violence, such as laws that allow individuals to carry loaded, concealed weapons in public without a permit. Ultimately, every state was awarded a letter grade indicating the overall strength or weakness of its gun laws.
This collaborative report empowers advocates by putting the Law Center’s in-depth research on America’s gun laws into the hands of the extensive networks of the Brady Campaign and States United to Prevent Gun Violence, a coalition of 27 state groups including New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, so they can continue to fight for effective gun policies in communities across the country.
For more information about New York’s scores and the scores of other states please visit the websites of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence http://bit.ly/ILLjf3 and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence http://bit.ly/GunLawsScorecard.
The author is executive director, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence
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