NY seals 1st state gun laws since Newtown

it will be the toughest gun control law in the nation VIDEO

Topics: aol_on, Video, From the Wires, Gun Control, New York, Andrew Cuomo, Newtown, Mental health,

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York lawmakers agreed to pass the toughest gun control law in the nation and the first since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, and now dare other states and Washington to follow

“This is a scourge on society,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday night, six days after making gun control a centerpiece of his progressive agenda in his State of the State address. The bipartisan effort was fueled by the Newton tragedy that took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators. “At what point do you say, ‘No more innocent loss of life.’”

Sen. Jeffrey Klein, leader of the Independent Democratic Conference in the Senate, said it is landmark legislation. “This is not about taking anyone’s rights away,” said Klein, a Bronx Democrat. “It’s about a safe society … today we are setting the mark for the rest of the county to do what’s right.”

The measure, which calls for a tougher assault weapons ban and restrictions on ammunition and the sale of guns, passed the Senate 43-18 on the strength of support from Democrats, many of whom previously sponsored bills that were once blocked by Republicans. The Democrat-led Assembly gaveled out before midnight and planned to take the issue up at 10 a.m. Tuesday. It is expected to pass easily.

The governor confirmed the proposal, previously worked out in closed session, also would mandate a police registry of assault weapons, grandfathering in assault weapons already in private hands.

It would create a more powerful tool to require the reporting of mentally ill people who say they intend to use a gun illegally and would address the unsafe storage of guns, the governor confirmed.

It was agreed upon exactly a month since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.

“It is well-balanced, it protects the Second Amendment,” said Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos of Long Island. “And there is no confiscation of weapons, which was at one time being considered.

“This is going to go after those who are bringing illegal guns into the state, who are slaughtering people in New York City,” Skelos said. “This is going to put people in jail and keep people in jail who shouldn’t be out on the street in the first place.”

Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers noted most bills had been pushed by Democrats in past years, but bottled up by Republicans.



“The Senate Democrats were proud to provide the votes to make this crucial package possible,” said Stewart-Cousins, leader of the traditional Democratic conference. “The fact is, the bills passed today should have been enacted a long time ago.”

Cuomo said he wanted quick action to avoid a run on assault rifles and ammunition as he tries to address what he estimates is about 1 million assault rifles in New York state.

Republican Sen. Greg Ball called that political opportunism in a rare criticism of the popular and powerful governor seen by his supporters as a possible candidate for president in 2016.

“We haven’t saved any lives tonight, except one: the political life of a governor who wants to be president,” said Ball who represents part of the Hudson Valley. “We have taken an entire category of firearms that are currently legal that are in the homes of law-abiding, tax paying citizens. … We are now turning those law-abiding citizens into criminals.”

Under current state law, assault weapons are defined by having two “military rifle” features spelled out in the law. The proposal would reduce that to one feature and include the popular pistol grip.

Private sales of assault weapons to someone other than an immediate family would be subject to a background check through a dealer. Also Internet sales of assault weapons would be banned, and failing to safely store a weapon could be subject to a misdemeanor charge.

Ammunition magazines would be restricted to seven bullets, from the current 10, and current owners of higher-capacity magazines would have a year to sell them out of state. An owner caught at home with eight or more bullets in a magazine could face a misdemeanor charge.

In another provision, a therapist who believes a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally would be required to report the incident to a mental health director who would have to report serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. A patient’s gun could be taken from him or her.

The legislation also increases sentences for gun crimes including the shooting of a first responder that Cuomo called the “Webster provision.” Last month in the western New York town of Webster, two firefighters were killed after responding to a fire set by the shooter, who eventually killed himself.

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous of Broome County voted against the bill and said it was a tough vote for upstate Republicans.

“I have had thousands of emails and calls,” Libous said. “I have to respect their wishes.” He said many of constituents worry the bill will conflict with the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms while others anguish over shootings like at Newtown, Conn., and Columbine, Colo.

The closed-door meetings prompted about a dozen gun workers to travel more than two hours to Albany to protest the legislation they say could cost 300 to 700 jobs in the economically hard-hit Mohawk Valley.

“I have three small kids myself,” said Jamie Rudall, a unionized worker who polishes shotgun receivers. “So I know what it means, the tragedy … we need to look at ways to prevent that, rather than eliminate the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

In the gun debate, one concern for New York is its major gun manufacturer upstate.

Remington Arms Co. makes the Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle that was used in the Connecticut shootings and again on Christmas Eve when the two firefighters were slain in Webster. The two-century-old Remington factory in Ilion in central New York employs 1,000 workers in a Republican Senate district.

Assemblyman Marc Butler, a Republican who represents the area, decried the closed-door meetings by Senate Republicans and the Democratic majority of the Assembly as “politics at its worst.”

The bill would be the first test of the new coalition in control of the Senate, which has long been run by Republicans opposed to gun control measures. The chamber is now in the hands of Republicans and five breakaway Democrats led by Klein, an arrangement expected to result in more progressive legislation.

Former Republican Sen. Michael Balboni said that for legislators from the more conservative upstate region of New York, gun control “has the intensity of the gay marriage issue.” In 2011, three of four Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote for same-sex marriage ended up losing their jobs because of their votes.

___

AP Writer Michael Virtanen contributed to this report from Albany.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>