My Gun Sense Views

I am thankful that our campaign has been awarded the 2020 Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction for my long-standing commitment to gun violence prevention.

I am proud of my record of advocating and voting for common sense gun violence prevention actions. I am one of the few candidates in this race who has directly confronted the scheming of the Gun Lobby and who has voted consistently against their attempts to roll back gun violence prevention laws. I vow to continue this proven, principled and progressive record on common sense gun safety if elected to the New York Assembly.

Questions asked by the 2020 Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate Questionnaire

Background Checks

Federal law requires that a person pass a background check before buying a gun from a licensed firearm dealer. In the past 25 years, more than 3.5 million illegal gun sales have been blocked, including to convicted felons, domestic abusers, and people prohibited due to mental illness. But the federal background check law does not apply if a person buys a gun from an unlicensed seller. This means that criminals can easily buy guns from strangers they meet online or at gun shows, with no background check and no questions asked.

Do you support expanding the background checks requirement, which currently enables prohibited people to buy a gun with no questions asked?


Federal law bars people with felony convictions from having guns, but does not cover other people with violent offenses—including many people convicted of assault and battery, along with many stalking, sex crime, and kidnapping offenders. Evidence shows that handgun purchasers with a violent misdemeanor record are over 7 times more likely to be charged with a new offense—and that barring gun possession by these offenders can reduce homicide rates. More than a dozen states have already acted to bar gun possession by people with recent violent criminal offenses.

Do you support prohibiting people from buying or owning guns after they are convicted of violent misdemeanor crimes?


When a person tries to buy a gun illegally, it is a warning sign: Thirty percent of convicted criminals who fail a background check are rearrested within five years. Those purchase attempts are illegal. Yet state or local law enforcement is often not informed of background check denials when they happen, meaning police can’t intervene when a prohibited person is looking to get armed.

Do you support notifying appropriate law enforcement when a prohibited person breaks the law and tries to purchase a firearm?


Any record missing from the background check system poses a risk that a prohibited person might be able to buy a gun. The mass shooters at Virginia Tech and at the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, were prohibited from having firearms, but were able to buy guns anyway because their records were not available at the time they passed a background check. Law enforcement and court officials across the country can improve their reporting of felonies, domestic violence crimes, and other prohibiting records.

Do you support improving background checks with better reporting into the system for prohibiting records?


Keeping Kids and Communities Safe

When a person is in crisis, loved ones and law enforcement are often the first to see when a person is showing warning signs of being a danger to themselves or others. Extreme Risk laws, often called Red Flag laws, allow them to ask a judge to temporarily remove guns from dangerous situations. If a court finds that a person poses a significant threat to themselves or others, that person is temporarily prohibited from purchasing and possessing guns. Seventeen states and DC have passed these laws, including twelve since 2018.

Do you support empowering family members and law enforcement to petition a judge for a Red Flag order (often called an “Extreme Risk Protection Order”)?


Secure firearm storage can reduce the risks of suicide and unintentional shootings. It is estimated that 4.6 million American children live in households with at least one firearm that is loaded and unlocked. Storing guns locked and unloaded, is associated with a 78 percent lower risk of self-inflicted firearm injuries and an 85 percent lower risk of unintentional firearm injuries among children and teens.

Do you support policies requiring gun owners to store their firearms securely — locked and inaccessible to unauthorized users, including children and prohibited people?


Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines have been shown to increase the number of people killed and injured in mass shootings—as they enable shooters to fire more quickly and with more destructive force. Indeed researchers have found a majority of mass shooting deaths could have been avoided if assault weapon and high-capacity magazine restrictions had been in place.

Do you support laws limiting access to assault weapons?


Do you support laws limiting high-capacity magazines (holding more than 10 rounds)?


With new products designed to evade gun laws, including widely available kits that easily convert unfinished receivers into fully functional firearms and new capability in 3D printing technology, it is easier than ever for prohibited people to make their own guns at home—and get armed outside the background check system.

Do you support prohibitions on making firearms at home outside of the background check system, including at-home 3D firearms printing?


Protecting Victims of Domestic Abuse

Women in the U.S. are 21 times more likely to be killed with guns than women in other high-income countries. And when a gun is present in a domestic violence situation, a woman is five times more likely to be killed. Federal law prohibits many domestic abusers from possessing firearms, but states play a primary role in enforcement -- and can pass and enforce their own domestic violence laws. Further, federal law prohibits many domestic abusers from possessing firearms, but does not generally cover abusive boyfriends, even though American women are as likely to be killed by abusive boyfriends than by abusive spouses. Evidence also shows these laws are especially effective at preventing gun violence if they require abusers to turn in their guns once they become prohibited.

Do you support state legislation that prohibits gun possession by domestic abusers convicted of domestic violence and/or subject to final protection orders?


Do you support legislation that closes the “boyfriend loophole” barring gun possession by intimate partners convicted of domestic violence and/or subject to final protection orders?


Do you support laws requiring domestic abusers to turn in their guns promptly after becoming prohibited purchasers?


Funding Research and Combating Daily Gun Violence

Funding for the Centers for Disease Control and other public health agencies to study gun violence has been severely depressed for several decades, in large part due to gun lobby efforts to suppress public knowledge in this critical area.

Do you support robust funding for research on the causes of gun violence, its consequences for public health and common-sense solutions to curb gun violence?


Community-based violence intervention programs apply a localized approach to address gun violence in neighborhoods with particularly high rates of gun violence. Numerous studies demonstrate that evidence-based intervention and prevention--for example, through street or hospital-based outreach -- reduces gunshot victimizations among people at the highest risk of being shot. While there is no uniform formula, community stakeholders can help determine the appropriate amount of funding; California’s governor has allocated $30 million budget for the state’s 39 million residents, while Massachusetts authorities have allocated around $21 million for the state’s 7 million residents.

Do you support robust public funding in your state for localized violence intervention programs that support people at the highest risk of being shot and killed?


Public Carry of Firearms

The standards for who may carry a hidden, loaded gun in public vary widely across states: While some states require that a person receive comprehensive safety training and have no violent criminal offenses on their record, other states allow carry by people with no permit—or background check—whatsoever. And yet the gun lobby wants complete permit “reciprocity” across the country, meaning states with strong standards would recognize out-of-state permits with far weaker standards.

Do you support a firearm safety training requirement in order to carry concealed handguns in public?


Do you oppose automatic reciprocity for concealed carry permits, which allow people to carry handguns in public even if they wouldn’t qualify for a state permit?


Over the last several years, the gun lobby has gone from statehouse to statehouse seeking to enact “permitless carry,” which would pose a public safety risk by removing the requirement that a person get a permit before carrying a hidden, loaded handgun in public. These laws often remove important safety standards, such as requirements for safety training and no violent criminal record. And indeed, states that have passed permitless carry have seen a substantial increase in violent crime.

Do you support state permitting for carrying a concealed handgun in public, with strong public safety requirements?


Over the last few years, some people have taken advantage of gaps in state law to carry guns openly in public as a means of intimidation, notably at the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The presence of a visible gun can make people more aggressive and heighten the risk of violent conflict. In recent years, the legal open carry of firearms has led to confusion in dangerous situations, impeding police from preventing shootings. Even the NRA first called this behavior “scary” before bowing to extremists and declaring its support for open carry in public.

Would you support a law prohibiting the open carry of firearms in public?


Other Gun Lobby Priorities

Stand Your Ground laws upend traditional duty to retreat in our self-defense laws, allowing a person to use deadly force even when there is a clear and safe alternative for defusing a confrontation. These laws have not been shown to deter crime, and on the contrary, are associated with an increase in homicide and an increase in homicides considered justifiable. They also have a disproportionate effect on communities of color, as Florida Stand Your Ground cases with minority victims are half as likely to lead to conviction, compared to cases with white victims.

Do you oppose Stand Your Ground laws, which allow people to shoot to kill, even when they have a clear alternative to defuse a confrontation?


There is no evidence that arming teachers can help deter, mitigate, or intervene to stop active shooters—and on the contrary, guns are more likely to complicate law enforcement response during an incident, and to be accessed by children when not under the teacher’s control. However, the gun lobby is promoting laws to arm teachers and school staff. While law enforcement have on average 840 hours of basic training, gun lobby bills often require significantly less training, and sometimes no minimum training at all, for armed teachers. This policy is opposed by law enforcement, parents, and teachers.

Do you oppose allowing guns in K-12 schools, outside of trained law enforcement and security staff?


In recent years, the gun lobby has campaigned in statehouses to allow or even force colleges and universities to allow guns onto their campuses. College life is full of risk factors that make the presence of guns dangerous: The college population engages in heavy alcohol and drug use and many students report serious mental health issues and suicidal ideation. Law enforcement, students, and school faculty broadly oppose allowing guns anywhere on their campuses.

Do you oppose laws allowing or forcing colleges and universities to let guns onto their campuses?


After a decades-long effort by the gun lobby, most states now have some form of firearms preemption law, blocking towns and cities from adopting their own gun laws suited to local needs. These laws often bar mayors and police chiefs from making gun violence prevention policy, and in some cases even have punitive provisions that leave taxpayers on the hook for court costs and fees.

Do you oppose broad firearms preemption laws, which block local officials from passing and enforcing laws that keep communities safe from gun violence?


NRA-PVF Questionnaire

I was asked to complete the 2020 New York Candidate Questionnaire by the NRA. I am providing a copy of the PDF questionnaire I completed for your review if interested.