New York's waiting period to buy some guns is now 30 days

New York is extending the waiting period for certain gun purchases from three days to 30 days to give authorities more time to run background checks.

The change signed into law Monday by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo will apply when a federal instant background check returns inconclusive results for a potential gun buyer.

Instant background checks are used to instantly approve or deny gun purchases. Under the old rules, when the system turns up details requiring further scrutiny, dealers were directed to delay the sale for three days. After that, the sale could proceed, even if the background check wasn't complete.

The state's new 30-day wait will give federal authorities more time for deeper checks. Gun control advocates also say longer waiting periods offer a "cooling off" period that can discourage rash acts of violence.

According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, more than 4,800 people purchased firearms in 2017 after the three-day waiting period but before the background check was completed.

"Stronger background checks will help keep guns away from dangerous people," said Sen. Michael Gianaris, D-Queens and the Senate sponsor of the bill.

The Assembly sponsor, Scarsdale Democrat Amy Paulin, noted that only about 9% to 11% of all background checks result in a delay.

"Most background checks come back quickly and cleanly," she said. "This will not hinder a law-abiding citizen's ability to purchase."

Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, said the new law isn't necessary. The three-day waiting period worked well, he said, and lawmakers extended for reasons that were largely political.

"This is just feel-good legislation," he said. "This is something that the governor and the politicians are saying will make you safer. That's hogwash."

The change, which applies to all gun dealers in the state, will take effect in September.

Cuomo also signed legislation Monday that bans bump stocks, devices that increase the firing pace of semi-automatic weapons. Bump stocks are already banned at the federal level.

In February, Cuomo signed into law a measure allowing teachers and school administrators to alert a judge about students they worry could be a danger to themselves or others. The judge would then have the power to order a mental evaluation of the student and order the removal of firearms from their home.