Yesterday Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a sweeping, bi-partisan gun control measure into law, the first in the nation following last month’s horrific school shooting in Newtown, CT. Our local Assemblymembers Joan L. Millman (District 52) and James Brennan (District 44) joined their colleagues in a 104-to-43 vote to pass the measure.
An expanded ban on assault rifles went into effect immediately, while other provisions will take effect down the road. The New York Times explains the law:
The expanded ban on assault weapons broadens the definition of what is considered an assault weapon and reduces the permissible size of gun magazines to 7 rounds, from 10. It also includes provisions to better keep firearms away from mentally ill people and to impose stiffer penalties on people who use guns in the commission of crimes.
You can see the full NY Safe Act of 2013 here.
The support from our Assemblymembers, both advocates of gun control, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but they each had some thoughts to share on the new law.
“It’s a major first step, and I think it’s merited. I was proud to have voted. I do have one or more concerns- specifically the mental health provision,” said Millman. “I don’t want people who are seeking professional help to hold back for fear of being reported. But that can get better.”
“Other than that,” she continued, “it’s strict and it ought to be. It’s interesting to me the different ways people perceive guns in rural and urban areas […] I’ve never shot a gun in my life, but I have colleagues who have guns and go hunting and love it. No one is taking those guns. We’re cracking down on the use of semi-automatic rifles, and we should do that. I think it’s a good thing and I’m glad to see that we as New York are the first state to do so.”
“The laws include a complete ban on assault weapon purchases, closing loopholes that in a pre-existing ban kept the weapons like the ones used in Connecticut and in Webster, New York, involving the deaths of the two firefighters, legal until yesterday,” Brennan explained. “The ban on large-scale ammunition clips was strengthened, and there were many other measures as well.”
Some are calling the law too extreme. Mental health professionals are worried that the law will deter people from seeking treatment. And the NRA has called the bill “draconian,” saying that it’s just fuel for Governor Cuomo’s political aspirations. How do you feel about the new gun control laws?
Image via NY Daily News