Guns: NY has effective background checks; now it’s Washington’s turn

Updated
Hand guns that were turned in by their owners are seen in a trash bin at a gun buyback held by the Los Angeles Police Department following the mass shooting...
Hand guns that were turned in by their owners are seen in a trash bin at a gun buyback held by the Los Angeles Police Department following the mass shooting...
David McNew/Reuters

New York leaders and lawmakers moved faster than anyone else in response to the Sandy Hook elementary shootings, passing sweeping gun control reforms within six weeks of the horrific tragedy. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is responsible for more than just enforcing those laws, he also helped develop them.

Schneiderman joined PoliticsNation on Thursday to talk about the genesis of one of the key parts of the law, background checks. Undercover stings organized by his office found that many gun show operators were not following preexisting background check laws. After that discovery, he says, he “confronted the gun show operators”–many of whom represent the staunchest Second Amendment advocates in the country. They were more than willing to step up and develop a better process. “Not only did they voluntarily work with us to develop model procedures so that we were ensuring 100% background checks at New York’s gun shows,” he said, “people we haven’t even busted have come forward voluntarily to say ‘I want to do that at my gun shows too.’”

Unfortunately, most guns used in New York crimes come from outside the state, which is why federal action is needed, Schneiderman says. He says he’s willing to bring his expertise to Washington to craft a national version of the law.

“We have to get action at the federal level,” he said. “It’s got to be enforceable and that’s a challenge with universal background checks,” he said. “We have found a way that we can replicate nationally and the gun show operators like it.”

“The time for change is coming, even to Washington.”

Guns: NY has effective background checks; now it's Washington's turn

Updated