A Look Back at the 2013 SAFE Act

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, New York State took the initiative to pass gun control measures to ensure a scenario such as this would never happen in our state.  In 2013, NYS enacted the strongest gun regulation laws in the nation, known as the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (SAFE Act). The SAFE Act was implemented to stop criminals and those who suffer from severe mentally illness from buying a gun by requiring universal background checks on gun purchases, and increasing penalties for people who use illegal guns. This act also mandates life in prison without parole, for anyone who murders a first responder, and imposes the toughest assault weapons ban in the country.

 Under the SAFE Act, the following initiatives were set in place: 

Protecting our Students and Schools

The SAFE Act created school safety improvement teams, which were comprised of experts from the division of homeland and security and emergency services, the division of the state police, the division of criminal justice services and the state education department. These teams have worked alongside school administrators and local law enforcement to close any gaps in their school safety plans.

Expanding Assault Weapons Ban

Through the SAFE Act, rifles, shotguns, and handguns with certain characteristics are defined to be assault and weapons, including semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines and one military style feature were banned. Those who lawfully owned assault weapons prior to January 15, 2013 were required to sell the weapon or register it with the State Police before April 2014. Owners of grandfathered assault weapons may not sell these firearms in the State of New York, unless the sale is done with an in-state licensed dealer. 

Ammunition Sales

The SAFE Act bans direct interest sales of ammunition. As of January 15, 2014, all sellers of ammunition in the State of New York must abide by the following procedures when making a sale:

1.      Register with the New York State Police;

2.      Run buyer through a State-created review of disqualifiers to ensure the buyer is not prohibited by law from possessing ammunition; and

3.      Keep and maintain electronic records of sales that are accessible to the State.

Universal Background Checks 

Mandated the creation of a statewide license and record database to be run and operated by the New York State Police. Owners of handguns or assault rifles to recertify their permit ever five (5) years through their county of residence.

Bianca Rajpersaud is treasurer of Move Forward Staten Island.