The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, on Feb. 14, prompted Governor Andrew Cuomo to partner with governors in Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island to announce a new States for Gun Safety regional alliance. The partnership forms a multi-state database to supplement the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System, trace and intercept guns that are used in crimes as well as guns transported across state borders and launch the nation’s first Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium that will study the issue to better inform policy makers and the public nationwide.
“Here in New York, we’re proud to be home to the nation’s strongest gun safety law. However, the federal government’s continued inaction on this issue has not only allowed the epidemic of gun violence to spread, but it has actually prevented the laws like the SAFE Act from being fully effective,” said Cuomo.
The SAFE Act, the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, was enacted following the devastating school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, in 2012. It banned the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines and helps keep guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill, while safeguarding the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
“Rather than wait for the federal government to come to its senses and pass responsible gun safety legislation,” Cuomo continued, “New York is joining with New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island to take matters into our own hands. As part of the coalition, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island will share information about individuals who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm within each state. The governors, Connecticut’s Dan Malloy, New Jersey’s Phil Murphy, Rhode Island’s Gina Raimondo, along with Cuomo, said that by sharing information, states can more effectively prevent certain individuals from purchasing a gun, obtaining a weapon and/or getting a gun permit. The agreement, in accordance with federal and state privacy protections, will provide state law enforcement agencies with details on the firearm purchase or permit denials for those who are disqualified.
Cuomo said that despite the passage of gun safety laws restricting the purchase and carry of firearms across the four states, the lack of federal regulations preventing individuals from purchasing guns in other states and transporting them across borders has undermined state legislation.
“To combat this practice, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island will direct their law enforcement intelligence centers to work cooperatively to trace the use of out-of-state guns in crimes and share information in order to intercept criminals transporting illegal guns across state borders,” said Cuomo. “The four state fusion centers that will jointly share information under this agreement are the New York State Intelligence Center, the Connecticut Intelligence Center, New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center and the Rhode Island State Fusion Center.”
The four states will also designate institutions of higher education to partner and create the nation’s first Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium, which will be comprised of public health, social welfare, public policy and criminal justice experts who will share and examine data to better inform policymakers nationwide. The consortium, the governor said, will fill the void left by the federal government’s 1996 ban on the use of federal funds to study gun violence, which has obstructed research efforts across the nation, including at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.