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Issues: Gun Rights and Public Safety

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Gun Rights: Defend the individual right of law-abiding citizens to own pistols, rifles, and shotguns for self-defense, hunting, and sport shooting.

Gun Safety: Defend the public right to regulate the ownership and operation of guns in the interests of public safety.

Gun Safety Reforms in New York State:

  • Ban the sale of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks.

  • Universal background checks for gun and ammunition buyers, including closing the loophole for private sales and sales at gun shows, with records maintained in a central registry, not destroyed after 24 hours as under current law.

  • Require all gun owners to pass a gun safety test, a visual test, and be licensed by a government agency, similar to the requirements for obtaining a driver license.

  • Institute a 28-day waiting period after license application before firearms can be possessed.

  • Expand the recently enacted prohibition on the purchase and possession of guns by people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes to include people convicted of menacing, assault, or unlawful imprisonment.

  • Allow government research into the health impacts of gun violence, including high rates of suicides from handguns.

  • Divest state pension funds from owning shares in gun manufacturers.

  • Stop the acquisition of surplus military grade equipment by police.

  • Support citizen review boards and community control of the police.

  • Support police tactical training in de-escalation and conflict resolution.

  • Monitor the enforcement of gun safety laws to ensure equal treatment of all social groups by law enforcement.

Attack the Root Causes of Gun Violence in Social Inequalities and Militarism: Gun safety laws are not enough. Inequality kills. The high rates of murder and the increasing number of mass shootings in America is indicative of a society engulfed in fears fueled by racism, xenophobia, misogyny, militarism, and growing inequalities in income, wealth, and power. Economic inequality is strongest correlate with rates of murder and gun violence among the nations of the world. The culture of militarism, which inculcates fears of other types of people and glorifies the military, police, wars, and violence as the answer to those fears, promotes civilian gun violence. We need broad egalitarian social reform as well as gun safety laws to radically reduce the extremely high rate of gun violence in America.

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