The majority of mass shooters have some sort of domestic or family violence in their background. Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz was no different; Cruz allegedly threatened to kill the teenager who began dating his ex-girlfriend, and his mother alleged that he threw her against the wall for taking away his Xbox, and on another occasion, hit her with the hose of a vacuum cleaner.
Overall, the CDC says that homicide is one of the leading causes of death for women younger than 44, and that “nearly half of female victims are killed by a current or former male intimate partner.” Even more recently than Parkland, a 16-year old girl named Jaelynn Willey was shot in the head by her ex-boyfriend, Austin Rollins, in a school shooting in Maryland last month, and died two days later.
In response, New York is trying a gun reform that might actually deal with that problem. On Friday, the state passed a law which suspends gun licenses of people convicted of domestic abuse and requires them to turn over all of their firearms, including rifles and shotguns; previously, they only had to turn over handguns. The new law also allows the state to report domestic violence conviction information to the FBI; as the Albany Times-Union notes, this means the conviction history would pop up during a background check.
In addition, the new law adds several “serious” misdemeanors—including second degree unlawful imprisonment, first degree harassment, and second degree aggravated harassment—to the list of crimes which would restrict the offender’s legal access to guns. And finally, the law now bans alleged domestic abusers with outstanding felony or “serious” warrants from obtaining or renewing a gun license, which is a real thing that they could do before.
“The recent wave of mass shootings is horrifying, and the federal government’s failure to act on any form of meaningful gun safety laws is unconscionable,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press release. Current federal law restricts gun ownership for people convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse only if they lived with, are/were married to, or have children with their victims, leaving out intimate dating partners. (Oregon became the 24th state to close this loophole in March.)
Cuomo’s office also said that guns were used in 35 domestic homicides in New York in 2016, and that the shooter in nine of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history had a history of committing or threatening violence against women or harassing women.
“New York is once again leading the way to prevent gun violence, and with this common sense reform, break the inextricable link between gun violence and domestic violence,” Cuomo said.
We’ve requested comment from the NRA, and will update if we get a response.