New York passes new gun laws



In response to last month’s elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the state legislature passed an expansive gun control package this week, making it the first state in the nation to pass new legislation on guns since the massacre.

State Sen. Jeff Klein’s bill, dubbed NY SAFE Act, will expand the state’s ban on assault weapons, limit access to guns by those suffering from mental illness, reduce the allowable size of a magazine from 10 to seven rounds and expand Kendra’s Law, which gives judges the authority to order individuals suffering from mental illness to receive outpatient treatment.

Mr. Klein worked with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and head of the Senate Republicans, state Sen. Dean Skelos, on the legislation. The bill passed the Senate late on Monday night and the Assembly on Tuesday. 

Mr. Klein touted the new legislation.  

“This package preserves the Constitutional rights of legal gun owners while also recognizing that those rights are not absolute and should come with reasonable, common-sense restrictions,” Mr. Klein said in a press release. “We’ve passed a full-throated ban on assault weapons. We’ve taken high capacity magazines off of store shelves. We’ve gotten serious about treating illegal gun owners as criminals. We’ve closed loopholes in the gun sales laws. And we’ve taken truly historic steps towards keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.”

This bill provided the first look at how the coalition between the Independent Democratic Conference and the Senate Republicans will work this year. The coalition, which the two conferences formed last month, jointly controls the Senate. Despite this being viewed as a Democratic bill, the governor pushed hard for it and it passed the Senate on Monday night with bipartisan support, 43 votes to 18.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who voted for the bill in the Assembly on Tuesday, said he thinks parts of the bill could have been strengthened, but was pleased with it overall. 

“Every provision could be made stronger, but overall this is a strong bill,” he said.

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