New York became the first state to enact new firearms laws in the wake of December’s Newtown school shootings when the State Assembly on Tuesday ratified Monday’s Senate endorsement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gun-control bill.
Cuomo’s bill — the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, or NY SAFE — was approved by the Senate in a 43-18 vote around 11 p.m. Monday. The Assembly’s ratification Tuesday was a mere formality.
The law goes into effect immediately. As of now, magazines that hold more than seven rounds are banned in New York and universal background checks for all gun sales, regardless if they are private, person-to-person sales, are required.
**Other components of the bill: **
— “Assault” weapons are banned. To be defined as an “assault” weapon, a firearm only needs to have one listed feature, such as a pistol grip. Previous law required two listed features for a firearm to be defined as an “assault” weapon.
— Those who own “assault” weapons now can legally keep them, but they must be registered with police.
— Unsafe storage of “assault” weapons is a misdemeanor crime.
— All private sales must be listed in a state registry, with a background check done through a licensed dealer for a fee, excluding sales to immediate relatives.
— Therapists who believe a mental health patient is a credible threat to use a gun illegally must report the threat to a mental health director who would then have to report it to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. A patient’s gun can now be legally taken from him or her.
— Bans the Internet sale of “assault” weapons.
— Owners of higher-capacity magazines would have a year to sell them out of state. Someone caught with eight or more bullets in a magazine could face a misdemeanor charge.
— Stolen guns must be reported within 24 hours. Otherwise, the owner would face a possible misdemeanor.
— Require pistol permit holders or those registered as owners of “assault” rifles to be recertified at least every five years to make sure they are still legally able to own the guns.
— Limit the state records law to protect handgun owners from being identified publicly. The provision would allow a handgun permit holder a means to maintain privacy under the Freedom of Information law.
The last provision appears to be in direct response to The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News’ decision to publish a map of pistol-permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties, which has received significant criticism from Second Amendment advocates. If a permit holder requests privacy, county officials would be able to decide whether it should be granted.
“We’re not looking to demonize gun owners,” Cuomo said. “Gun owners have done nothing wrong.”
Also on Monday, officials in Delaware and Maryland called for bans on assault weapons and certain types of ammunition.
Like New York, Maryland already bans some assault weapons, but Governor Martin O’Malley said on Monday that he would propose further restrictions as well as limits on magazine size and improved mental health services and school safety.
Delaware’s attorney-general, Beau Biden, said he would seek to ban assault weapons, making his the eighth state to institute some form of restriction on the high-powered weapons. The District of Columbia also bans assault weapons.
For more, go to:
— New York Senate passes tough gun law