Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs New York's Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act into law during a ceremony in the Red Room at the Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Albany, N.Y. Jumping out ahead of Washington, New York enacted the nation's toughest gun restrictions Tuesday and the first since the Connecticut school shooting, including an expanded assault-weapon ban and mandatory background checks for buying ammunition. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
N.Y. passes first US gun control law since massacre

First Published Jan 15 2013 08:19 pm • Last Updated Jan 15 2013 08:19 pm

Albany, N.Y. • Jumping out ahead of Washington, New York state enacted the nation’s toughest gun restrictions Tuesday and the first since the Connecticut school massacre, including an expanded assault-weapon ban and background checks for buying ammunition.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law less than an hour after it won final passage in the Legislature, with supporters hailing it as a model for the nation and gun-rights activists condemning it as a knee-jerk piece of legislation that won’t make anyone safer and is too extreme to win support in the rest of the country.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"Common sense can win," Cuomo said. "You can overpower the extremists with intelligence and with reason and with common sense."

Owners of an estimated 1 million previously legal semiautomatic rifles, such as the Bushmaster model used to kill 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., a month ago, will be allowed to keep their weapons but will have a year to register them with police. The sale of any more such weapons is prohibited.

"When there’s a pileup of events, when the federal government does not do it, the state of New York has to lead the way," said state Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, a Brooklyn Democrat and co-sponsor.

In addition to outlawing a broader array of military-style weapons, the measure restricts ammunition magazines to seven rounds, down from the current 10, creates a more comprehensive database of people barred from owning guns, and makes New York the first state to require background checks to buy bullets. The system will also help flag customers who buy large amounts of ammo.

In another provision, therapists, doctors and other mental health professionals will be required to tell state authorities if a patient threatens to use a gun illegally. The patient’s weapon could then be taken away.

Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, said Cuomo clearly understood gun violence is a complex issue requiring broader solutions than simply banning a particular weapon. "I think that’s an important message for the nation," he said.

In a statement, the National Rifle Association said: "These gun control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime."

"While lawmakers could have taken a step toward strengthening mental health reporting and focusing on criminals, they opted for trampling the rights of law-abiding gun owners in New York, and they did it under a veil of secrecy in the dark of night," the NRA said.


story continues below
story continues below

President Barack Obama will unveil his own proposals in response to the Newtown tragedy on Wednesday. He favors sweeping gun legislation, including a ban on assault weapons. But because of powerful opposition from the gun lobby, he is said to be weighing 19 steps he could take through executive action alone.

Those could include ordering stricter action against people who lie on gun-sale background checks, seeking to ensure more complete records in the federal database, and striking limits on federal research into gun use.

New York’s law passed the state Senate, which is run by a Republican-dominated coalition, 43-18 Monday night. The Democrat-controlled Assembly approved it 104-43 Tuesday afternoon.

Republicans complained the measure was rammed through the Legislature and infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

"A lot of people say, ‘Why do you need these guns?’" said Assemblyman James Tedisco, a Schenectady Republican. "It’s part of the freedoms and liberties we have. ... It’s for our public safety. It’s to protect us from our own government."

He said the bill was dangerous because it would give people a "false sense of well-being."

"You are using innocent children killed by a madman for your own political agenda," he said. "You are actually making people less safe."

Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, questioned whether other states or the federal government would follow New York’s lead and said he expects the law to be challenged in court.

Previously, New York state law on assault weapons banned semiautomatics that have detachable magazines and at least two military-type features, such as a pistol grip, folding stock, muzzle flash suppressor or bayonet mount. The new law outlaws weapons with just one of those features.

It also requires background checks for even private gun sales, except those among immediate family.

In addition, it says handgun owners must renew their licenses every five years, and it increases prison sentences for using guns in various crimes or taking them onto school grounds.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.