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Proposed Bill Requires Firearm Training

Legislation has been introduced in the state Legislature that would prohibit police officers from carrying or using a firearm unless they complete a training course.

Sen. Jamaal Bailey, D-Bronx, recently introduced S.6540A, which would amend the state General Municipal Law to require police officers receive firearms instruction before being able to carry a weapon on duty. Bailey wrote in his legislative justification that there is no current law or requirement in New York for police officers to complete annual training in the use of force until after they complete firearms training in the Basic Training Course for Police Officers.

A police officer may legally carry a firearm, on-duty, without training, during the first year of appointment. It is possible for a newly appointed police officer to be assigned to field training or an enforcement role while armed with a firearm, without being trained. This is an untenable situation for the safety of the public, the police officer and fellow officers,” Bailey said in his legislative justification. “In addition, there is no current requirement in the State of New York for police officers to successfully complete annual training in use of force after they complete the firearms training in the BCPO. It is possible for a police officer, after initial training, to work his or her entire career without receiving additional training with firearms.”

Armed peace officers and armed security guards are required by state law to have completed firearms training before they carry a firearm on duty and are required to complete annual training. Qualified retired law enforcement officers are required by federal law to complete annual firearms training.

The legislation would pass the cost of the required training on to local police departments.

Bailey’s legislation was originally introduced in June before it was amended in early October and referred to the Senate’s Rules Committee. Companion legislation, A.5178, has been introduced in the state Assembly by Assemblyman Michael Blake, D-Bronx. Assemblyman Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda, voted against the original version of the legislation during a meeting of the Assembly’s Codes Committee in June.

The legislation was amended in early October and reintroduced in the state Senate. The unamended proposal did pass two committees in the state Assembly earlier this year.

A version of the legislation passed the state Assembly in 2015-16, but didn’t make it out of the state Senate’s Local Government Committee that year. The legislation was also introduced in the 2017-18 legislative session and failed to advance out of the Senate’s Local Government Committee.

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