NY State Is First to Approve Gun Control Law

New York became the first state Tuesday to tighten gun laws and ban assault weapons in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shooting. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law a bill that encompasses a range of gun control measures, according to The New York Times.

The ban, that passed by a sweeping majority in both the Senate and Assembly, is intended to more effectively keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill individuals by requiring mental health professionals to report dangerous patients and for officials to take measures to suspend or revoke gun licenses of those found to be a threat; to reduce the number of rounds a gun magazine can hold from 10 to 7 (the assault rifle used in the Newtown attack could hold up to 30 rounds of ammunition); and to broaden the definition of an assault rifle. The law also requires that gun owners in New York re-register their handguns and assault weapons.

While the country debates the best way to protect our children and citizens from the tragic fate of those killed in Newtown, Connecticut, gun rights groups argue that this type of gun legislation is not the answer. Gun advocacy groups including the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association were very outspoken in their objections and publicly maintain their position that gun laws do little to reduce gun crime.  

Legislators voting against the bill were also unhappy with the passing and criticized Governor Cuomo’s move to expedite the process by waiving the otherwise mandatory 3-day waiting period from when the bill is introduced to the final vote. Reports say the Governor expressed urgency; a sentiment being mirrored by other state and federal politicians around the country.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, however, endorsed the bill even as an outspoken gun rights supporter. Many are hailing the move as step in the right direction and as a law that will set the stage for other states to follow suit.

Supporters of the new gun law feel that when it comes to the safety of our children and innocent public, there is no debate--strengthened gun control is the solution. The New York Times reports Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti as stating, “The Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to bear arms to kill innocent firefighters, teachers and children, and that’s the message we have to send.” We are sure to see more gun laws emerge with this in mind; New York’s perhaps among the most comprehensive. Even as federal legislators remain in gridlock on the issue, many states are just behind the Empire State in their process, with many Americans in full support.

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