NY State Senate Passes Sweeping Gun Control Laws

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In a 43-to-18 vote, the New York Senate voted to enact sweeping new gun control laws for the state, according to an article in the New York Post.

State Senator Marty Golden supported the measure spearheaded by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Democratic caucus, despite outcry from a handful of Republican colleagues in the upstate area who voted against the bill.

“This legislation that we’re passing will save lives,” Golden told the New York Post.

The centerpiece of the new legislation focuses on the ban of assault weapons in the state, as well as broadening the definition of what constitutes an assault weapon. The new definition extends to any gun having a detachable magazine and having one military-style feature. The old definition allowed for two military-style features.

Dubbed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NYSAFE), the legislation also bans all magazines that hold more than seven rounds and bans all direct internet ammunition sales.

The bill, which Governor Cuomo declared is “the most comprehensive response to this crisis,” requires universal background checks for all gun sales. It will also allow state police to monitor high volume ammunition purchases in real time.

Individuals who currently own assault weapons will have to register them within a year and be recertified every five years.

Also included in the sweeping legislation is what’s known as the “Webster Provision” a life-without-parole sentence for anyone who kills a first responder. The “Webster Provision” came about after firefighters were gunned down after responding to a fire this past Christmas Eve in the upstate Webster community.

Under the proposed law, which still requires a vote by the Democratic-led Assembly, also requires mental-health professionals to report dangerous patients. If the patient happens to own a gun, they might be forced to surrender them. New provisions are also extended to mentally ill prisoners who must now undergo an extensive review before being released from prison.

While the majority of legislation puts the hammer to gun rights activists, there is a provision in the bill that would limit the exposure of people that carry gun permits. According to Capital Tonight, the statewide database of pistol permits would not be subject to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). This language was included to prevent the incident that occurred this past month when the White Plains Journal News published a map of all the homes that housed gun permit holders, an action that left gun owners feeling vulnerable.

If the bill becomes law, the state will also create an electronic database to identify individuals disqualified from owning guns. Background checks will also be necessary for private gun sales.