Governor Signs Strict Gun Control Law
ALBANY - Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday signed the nation's toughest gun control law hours after the Assembly easily passed the measure. The new law, the first since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, institutes a tougher assault weapons ban and provisions to try to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill who make threats.
Cuomo pushed hard for the bill, which passed the Senate on Jan. 14.
"This is a scourge on society," Cuomo said on Jan. 14, six days after making gun control a centerpiece of his State of the State address. The bipartisan effort was fueled by the Newtown tragedy that took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators.
The measure, which passed the Assembly 104-43, also restricts ammunition and the sale of guns.
"This is not about taking anyone's rights away," said Senator Jeffrey Klein, a Bronx Democrat, when the bill passed the Senate. "It's about a safe society. Today we are setting the mark for the rest of the county to do what's right."
Assault weapons were defined by having two "military rifle" features such as folding stock, muzzle flash suppressor or bayonet mount. The new law reduces that to one feature and includes the popular pistol grip.
Private sales of assault weapons to someone other than an immediate family member will be subject to a background check through a dealer. New Yorkers also are barred from buying assault weapons over the Internet, and failing to safely store a weapon could lead to a misdemeanor charge.
Ammunition magazines are restricted to seven bullets, from 10, and current owners of higher-capacity magazines will have a year to sell them out of state. An owner caught at home with eight or more bullets in a magazine will face a misdemeanor charge.