On Tuesday, the New York State Assembly passed the nation’s strictest gun control law in a lopsided vote, making New York State the first state to enact sweeping gun reform since the Newtown CT elementary school shooting massacre last month. Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters after the New York State Senate passed the legislation Monday night, “It’s comprehensive. It’s sound. It addresses the multifaceted problem that we’re dealing with”. He unveiled the proposal earlier on Monday, after weeks of working behind the scenes to iron out the details, saying, “It protects, I believe, hunters and sportsmen. We’re not looking to demonise gun owners. Gun owners have done nothing wrong”.
The new law, known as the NY Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act, includes a ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than seven rounds, a ban on certain semi-automatic rifles and pistols, and a mandatory background check for all gun sales, including private sales. It provides for real-time tracking of ammunition sales and allows alerts on high volume buyers. It also requires therapists and other mental health professionals to notify state officials when they believe a patient represents a credible threat to harm themselves or others. In such cases law enforcement officers could confiscate any guns owned by the patient. Governor Cuomo noted, “People who have mental health issues shouldn’t have guns. They could hurt themselves; they could hurt other people”.
Not everyone was in favour of the increased gun control measure, or felt it would make New Yorkers any safer. State Assemblyman James Tedisco (R-Glenville), who voted against the legislation argued, “In New York State last year there were 769 murders and homicides. Those committed by the guns you want to ban today, these assault weapons, these killers of people, could have been up to five. And you think you’re going to solve the problem?” The law goes into effect immediately, something Cuomo said was necessary to prevent swarms of people from rushing out to purchase large numbers of weapons before the ban went into effect. US President Barack Obama is expected to announce a national ban on assault weapons and other measures to increase gun control nationwide on Wednesday.
16 November 2013 (MSK)