Statement From A.G. Schneiderman On The U.S. Senate Vote To Block Background Check Expansion For Gun Purchases

Failure Of Congress To Expand Background Checks Is A Disgrace, But The Fight For Gun Safety Continues

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today issued the following statement after the United States Senate voted down legislation that would require background checks for private sales of firearms at gun shows and over the internet:

“The failure to pass even the most basic measures to expand background checks for gun sales, despite near-universal support from the American people, is a disgrace. Expanding background checks is not a partisan or ideological issue, it is a public safety and law enforcement issue. We have shown here in New York that it is easy to expand background checks without infringing on anyone’s Second Amendment rights. Make no mistake– this fight is far from over. While Washington has failed to act, my office has partnered with the gun show industry to develop and implement a set of Model Gun Show Procedures to ensure universal background checks at gun shows in New York, a model that other states can use. ”

Background checks screen out buyers who have been convicted of felonies, involuntarily committed in mental institutions, or who are otherwise legally barred from owning firearms. By supporting the filibuster, Senators from both parties prevented an up-or-down vote on the amendment itself, in effect killing it.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Schneiderman announced that 26 gun show operators have agreed to follow the Model Gun Show Procedures developed by the Attorney General's Office to promote uniform gun show operations across the state. As a result of these new voluntary agreements, at least 55 gun shows in New York this year will implement model procedures designed to ensure that legally required background checks are completed on every sale of a firearm.

The development of the Model Procedures grew out of Attorney General Schneiderman’s 2011 investigation of gun shows around the state. This investigation uncovered the frequent occurrence of private sales without background checks. Following that discovery, the Attorney General's Office and several gun show operators worked together to develop the Model Procedures, which balance the rights of the sportsmen and gun collectors with the need to protect the public from the sale of guns to people who cannot pass a background check, also known as a "National Instant Criminal Background Check System" or "NICS.” The Model Procedures require operators to do the following:

  • Post conspicuous signs throughout the shows, and give written notice to all dealers that New York State law requires that a National Instant Criminal Background Check be completed before the transfer of a gun at a gun show, including on the grounds of the show.
  • Require that all guns brought into the gun show by private sellers are tagged so that, upon exiting, the operator can determine if the guns were sold and a NICS was performed.
  • Provide access to a dealer who is authorized to conduct a NICS at cost.
  • The dealer performing the NICS shall complete and file the ATF Form 4473 and maintain the forms for inspection by law enforcement agencies for ten years, per the Gun Show Law.
  • Limit the number of access doors at the show so that sellers and buyers have to enter and exit through an area where the NICS procedures can be monitored.
  • Use reasonable means to prevent illegal gun sales outside of the building, including the parking lot.
  • Alert local law enforcement that a show will be held in their area, request periodic patrols in the parking lots to deter illegal sales, and call them if illegal sales are observed or suspected.

For more information on the Model Procedures between Attorney General Schneiderman and gun show operators around New York State, visit: