State Legislators Ready Bill to Expand Restrictions on Use of Assault Weapons
ALBANY - A key New York Senate leader and the Assembly speaker said they expected the Legislature to vote last evening to enact what would be the nation's first gun control measure following last month's Connecticut school shooting.
"I think when all is said and done, we are going to pass a comprehensive gun bill today," Senator Jeffrey Klein, D-Bronx, told reporters yesterday. "I'm very excited about it. I am very confident we are going to vote on a comprehensive bill that will be agreed on by the governor, the Senate and Assembly."
People familiar with closed-door negotiations told The Associated Press a tentative deal was struck over the weekend.
The tentative agreement would further restrict New York's ban on assault weapons, limit the size of magazines to seven bullets, down from the current 10, and enact more stringent background checks for sales. Other elements, pushed by Republicans, would refine a mental health law to make it easier to confine people determined to be a threat to themselves or others.
Senate Republicans also have included a further crackdown on illegal gun trafficking into New York, the people said. Most New York City gun crimes involve weapons illegally brought into the state, state and city officials say.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposal had not been discussed among rank and file legislators. They said the tentative deal would be debated behind closed doors in the Senate and the Democrat-led Assembly and could be sent to the floor for a vote yesterday.
A Cuomo administration official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not final, said there was no agreement yet.
Yesterday was exactly one month after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the deal will include ways for schools to use state aid to better guard against shootings.
The vote also would require Cuomo to issue a "message of necessity" that would dispense with the three days of public review that bills are supposed to have under the state Constitution. There was no immediate comment from Cuomo, who made these gun control provisions a keynote of his State of the State address on Jan. 9.