ALBANY - New York lawmakers could be poised to pass new gun-control measures come January, six years after the SAFE Act expanded the state's ban on assault-style firearms.
With Democrats taking control of the chamber in January, incoming Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, said her conference is likely to support "common-sense gun laws" that could include a measure to allowing a judge to block someone from possessing a firearm if they pose an "extreme risk."
"We will be getting together over the next few weeks, where people will have a clear understanding of so many of the things that are going to be facing us," Stewart-Cousins said at the Capitol on Monday.
"Then I would be in a better position to say 'We're all going to do this, we're all going to do that.'
Senate Republicans, who held control of the chamber since 2011, allowed the SAFE Act to come to a vote in 2013 but otherwise blocked gun-control measures favored by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Democrats, who control a wide majority in the Legislature's lower house.
Now, firearms organizations are concerned over losing their last Republican check on state government, which will soon be under entirely Democratic control.
Any significant gun-control measures would likely further anger gun owners in upstate New York, where the SAFE Act helped cement an ongoing distaste for Cuomo in some of the state's rural areas.
"I think that any infringement like that would tip the people over the edge," said Tom King, president of the state Rifle and Pistol Association.
Here's a look at four bills that will get a renewed look in a Democratic Senate:
'Red flag' bill
Cuomo, who considers the SAFE Act one of his crowning achievements, has singled out the "red flag" bill as a priority for the coming legislative session, which begins in January.
In short, it would work like this: School officials, family members and police officers would be able to seek a court order blocking someone from purchasing or possessing firearms in New York if they pose an "extreme risk" to themselves or others.
It would then be up to a judge to decide whether to issue an "extreme risk protection order," which would force a gun owner to surrender his or her firearms and prevent them from attempting to purchase new ones.
In order to issue an order, a judge would have to weigh whether the person has used or threatened violence against themselves or others, has violated a restraining order, has any pending charges involving weapons, has recklessly brandished a firearm or has any history of alcohol or substance-abuse problems.
Stewart-Cousins singled out the red flag bill when speaking to reporters Monday.
"The reality is I believe there's really a broad consensus around something like doing the common-sense gun laws that we have been pushing, whether it's what they're calling the red flag or extreme risk protection orders, or whether it's banning bump stocks," she said.
King said he believes the state's existing laws and regulations are plenty to ensure guns don't get into the wrong hands.
"We don't want people who are mentally disturbed out there with a firearm," King said. "But the problem is we don't need more rules and regulations to do it. All those rules and regulations are out there; they're not enforced."
Bump stock ban
In New York, bump stocks — the mechanism used by a Las Vegas mass shooter in 2017 to simulate an automatic weapon — are in something of a grey area.
In short, it's legal to own, buy or sell them in the state — but it's illegal to attach them to a firearm and use them.
There are a variety of bills that would ban the possession and sale of bump stocks in New York, but they were never put to a vote under the Republican-led Senate.
Democrats said that could soon change.
"Gun control is definitely on the top tier list that I hope we can pass as soon as possible and get signed into law," said Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Rockland County.
Ultimately, though, this bill may be moot: The federal government is reportedly expected to ban bump stocks in the coming weeks.
Extended waiting period
When you buy a gun in New York, your name is run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The system gives one of three responses: Proceed, denied or delayed.
When the response is "delayed," it triggers a three-day waiting period before the gun seeker can purchase the firearm.
Under bills proposed by Cuomo and Democratic lawmakers, that waiting period would be extended to 10 days to give investigators more time to look into possible criminal issues in a person's background.
"Expanding the time that NICS officials have to perform an investigation to ten days would assist in ensuring that firearms sales will not be made to persons prohibited from possessing a firearm without unduly burdening legitimate sales," a memo attached to Cuomo's bill states.
Social media probe for handgun seekers
A newly introduced bill that would require handgun seekers to give up their social-media passwords and search-engine history has generated plenty of headlines and online discussion.
Whether it gets a vote in the Legislature? Well, that's a different question.
The bill from Sen. Kevin Parker, D-Brooklyn, would allow the investigating officer — in most cases, a county judge — to go through three years of social-media posts and one year of search-engine history before determining whether an applicant should be approved for a handgun permit.
It would also apply to assault weapons grandfathered in under the SAFE Act.
It's the password provision, however, that has proven to be most controversial.
The bill would allow the investigating officer to obtain "any log-in name, password or other means" necessary to review the applicant's social media accounts and search history.
It's not clear whether the bill will get a vote. It does not have an Assembly sponsor so far.
Jon Campbell is a correspondent for the USA TODAY Network's Albany Bureau.