Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the 18th proposal of his 2020 State of the State agenda — banning untraceable “ghost guns” by requiring firearm parts be sold only to authorized buyers, requiring the same eligibility requirements as a completed firearm and that all major parts receive a serial number. The Governor’s proposal would ban individuals from obtaining major components of a firearm, rifle or shotgun online; instead, individuals would need to ship these parts to a licensed gun dealer where they would be picked up in person. The proposal would prohibit individuals who are forbidden to possess a firearm, rifle or shotgun from owning a major component of these guns, and create new misdemeanor and felony penalties for violating these new provisions.
“New York has the strongest gun safety protections in the nation, but every day dangerous people seek to find new ways around them,” Governor Cuomo said. “This common-sense measure would ban these untraceable guns and require anyone who wants to build their own firearm to come out of the shadows once and for all.”
So-called “80 percent kits” are readily available and allow individuals to purchase unfinished gun frames or receivers and mill out the remaining 20 percent at home. These kits allow people who would otherwise be prohibited from purchasing a gun to obtain various components and build a gun at home. These do-it-yourself firearms do not contain serial numbers, making them untraceable by authorities. In 2019, the number of individuals using these untraceable guns in New York increased significantly; dozens have been seized by law enforcement across the state. Untraceable guns reportedly have been used in recent mass shootings such as the California Saugus High School shooting in November 2019.
Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has passed the strongest gun control laws in the nation, including the SAFE Act in 2013 and other measures, which keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, and other serious offenders, as well as individuals who mental health professionals have deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. The SAFE Act also ensured private gun sales are subject to a background check, banned high-capacity magazines and assault weapons, and toughened criminal penalties for illegal gun use.
The Governor continued to build on New York’s nation-leading gun laws in 2019 with comprehensive legislation to: extend the background check waiting period; ban bump stocks; ban undetectable guns, including 3D-printed guns; expand firearm safe storage laws; prevent school districts from arming teachers; establish statewide regulations for gun buyback programs; and create a red flag procedure enabling concerned family members, educators, and law enforcement to seek a temporary order removing guns from individuals deemed to pose a risk to themselves or others. These laws have helped make New York the safest big state in the country, and New York City the safest big city in the country.