Ramos: Assembly Passes Legislation to Prevent Virginia Tech-Style Massacre

Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Central Islip) announced that the Assembly passed legislation to prevent those with mental health problems from purchasing or possessing firearms, closing a dangerous loophole.

“The shooting massacre at Virginia Tech University highlights a serious problem,” Assemblyman Ramos said. “For far too long, individuals with mental illnesses have been able to legally purchase firearms.”

To prevent mentally unstable individuals from purchasing or possessing firearms Assemblyman Ramos sponsored legislation allowing a court to revoke a person’s firearm license. The bill will also require those who have been declared a serious threat to themselves or others to turn over any weapons in their possession.

Also under the bill, the state Office of Mental Health and the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities will be required to maintain a database for those individuals who have been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital or institution. Those mental health records would also be supplied to the FBI database used to conduct background checks on all gun buyers, helping to ensure that critically important information in the database is coordinated between state and federal authorities.

This legislation also provides information to the federal database preventing individuals from purchasing a gun who are:

  • under indictment for or convicted of a felony;
  • fugitives from justice;
  • subject to an order of protection in a domestic violence case; and
  • convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor.

“Gun violence kills innocent victims, devastates families and destroys the futures of countless people each year,” Ramos said. “As a former detective, I know this all too well. This legislation is a step in the right direction to preventing a tragedy such as the one we witnessed at Virginia Tech earlier this year.”

The bill is the latest in a series of tough-on-crime legislation that the Assembly passed this year. Recently, the Assembly passed a comprehensive package of bills that bans the possession and sale of military style assault weapons, gives law enforcement officers the tools they need to track down illegal guns, and keeps guns out of the hands of children.

“Gun violence kills approximately 1,200 New Yorkers each year,” Assemblyman Ramos said. “With this bill and the other anti-crime legislation we have passed, the New York Assembly has said enough is enough.”