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Domestic Abusers and Firearm Rights

Friday Jun 29th, on Domestic Violence |

Those who are accused of domestic abuse should contact an Albany criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible, as penalties for abuse can be very serious. In addition to the potential for jail time and a permanent criminal record, new laws in New York now require those who are convicted of domestic violence to give up any firearms they own. These new laws strengthen existing limitations on firearm possession by individuals with a record of domestic violence, but they can end up leaving those with a conviction without their second amendment rights.

New Law in New York Requires Domestic Abusers to Give Up Firearms

According to ABC News, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced the passage of new legislation in New York related to firearm possession by individuals with a domestic violence conviction.

Under the new law, anyone who has been convicted of domestic abuse will lose his or her gun license and will be required to surrender any firearms that he owns. This includes not just handguns, but any and all other firearms as well.

There was an existing law in New York that required offenders who had been convicted of “serious” crimes to turn in their weapons and that stripped those offenders of their gun rights. However, those existing laws didn't require that domestic abusers give up their guns. This legislation now makes that change. ABC News indicates that by adding domestic violence to the list of crimes that result in the loss of gun rights, the new legislation eliminates a “loophole.”

The legislation was supported by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which indicates that stripping convicted domestic abusers of their gun rights could help to prevent murders. Data from the National Coalition of Domestic Violence also suggests that the risk of homicide increases by 500 percent in a domestic violence situation when a gun is present. 

Governor Cuomo pointed to a link between domestic violence and gun violence in a statement that he made when he signed the new legislation. There was a nationwide focus on the link between gun crimes and violence against intimate partners after a shooting last year when a man who was suspected of a deadly rampage at a Texas church was able to buy an assault rifle even though he already had a previous conviction for domestic violence. 

Cuomo and New York lawmakers believe that by imposing these new restrictions in New York and making sure alleged domestic abusers cannot get guns, they will be reducing the likelihood both that an abuser will shoot the abuse victim and will also be reducing the likelihood that an abuser will become violent with others.

However, this new regulation means that a conviction for domestic violence could result in a defendant no longer being able to exercise his or her constitutional right to bear arms. For those who wish to protect their freedom to own a weapon, fighting domestic violence charges will become more important than ever. An Albany criminal defense lawyer can provide help to victims in exploring defense options and responding proactively to charges.

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