New York Governor Andrew Cuomo doesn’t particularly like guns. We knew this from the NY SAFE Act that Cuomo vocally supported, but remarkably few people actually complied with.

Now, he wants to restrict even more people from owning guns.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday proposed legislation that would take away firearms from anyone convicted of domestic violence.

Under New York’s current laws, only domestic abusers convicted of felony or “serious” offenses are prohibited from owning guns. Cuomo said he wanted to close the loophole that allows gun-owners convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors, including some assault and battery charges or strangulation, to retain their firearms.

“This year will be remembered as the year of reckoning, when both the tragedy of mass shootings and cultural and institutional harassment of women became impossible to ignore,” the governor, a Democrat, said in a statement.

The governor said he would push to expand the type of firearms that those convicted of domestic violence must surrender. Existing law covers handguns, but Cuomo wants it to include rifles and shotguns as well. His proposal would also require judges to mandate the surrender of all firearms, including rifles and shotguns, when they issue an order of protection in domestic violence cases.

The proposal follows a flood of requests from gun-safety advocates. Cuomo’s announcement comes barely a month after a shooter opened fire on his mother-in-law’s Texas churchkilling 26 people and injuring others, after a long history of domestic violence. It’s become a disturbing pattern of mass shootings. As Cuomo noted in his announcement, most of the deadliest mass shootings in United States history have been perpetrated by individuals with a history of violence against women or a record of harassment against them.

So Cuomo is trying to capitalize on the specter of Sutherland Springs for political gain, and he’s not even that good at it.

Why do I say that?

Because it’s already illegal.

You see, if it’s really about domestic violence, the law already has it covered.  18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(33) covers who is barred under federal law. It reads states:

Except as provided in subparagraph (C),[2] the term “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” means an offense that—

(i) is a misdemeanor under Federal, State, or Tribal [3] law; and
(ii) has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.

In other words, actual cases of domestic violence are already covered, whether it’s a felony or misdemeanor crime. They simply aren’t allowed to have a gun. Period.

So what is Cuomo trying to do?

Well, it’s possible that he’s trying to lay an additional charge on those found to possess firearms despite federal law. Basically, it allows two charges to apply to the same crime.

It’s also possible that the governor doesn’t realize he’s reinventing the wheel here. Since he thinks there’s already a loophole here, this may well be the most likely option.

He could also be lying and is really targeting anyone who has been convicted of certain crimes that aren’t domestic violence but that he believes he can sell as domestic violence. For example, a couple of guys get in a bar fight. They get arrested and plead guilty to misdemeanor assault. Cuomo could well be targeting them for being covered under this law.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know just where this is going.

While it seems clear that he wants those convicted to surrender any firearms, it also sounds like there’s much more to it. Until we have a bill that we can read, it’ll be impossible to do more than speculate.

However, since we are speculating, and it’s New York we’re talking about here, pessimism is probably a good idea.

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