Updated 01/16/2013 12:12 PM
New York Legislature Passes Strictest Gun Control Laws In Nation
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation making New York the strictest state in the nation on gun control. NY1's Zack Fink has the story.
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Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo says there was no specific timetable for getting the gun control legislation passed, New York State is now the first in the nation to pass stricter gun laws in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. shootings.
"Let's at least be able to say to people 'yes, we went through terrible situations. But we saw, we learned, we responded and we acted,'" Cuomo said. "We are doing something about it. We are not victims."
The comprehensive bill enacts an immediate ban on assault weapons, defined as guns with detachable magazines. This expands on the state's 1994 ban, which had loopholes.
It also limits magazines to seven rounds instead of 10, and imposes more rigorous background checks.
"There is always more that can be done, but this was a pretty ambitious proposal and it achieved a lot of what Senate Democrats have been trying to do for several years," Queens Sen. Michael Gianaris (D) said.
The legislation passed the Senate late Monday night without debate. It passed the Assembly on Tuesday after more than four hours of debate.
"Well New Yorkers are no safer, just like every other gun law that has been passed," Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin (R-Albany) said. "Harvard has done a study, the CDC has done a study. Gun control laws don't work because all they do is hamper law abiding citizens. The criminals once again don't care."
Although not a single Republican attended Cuomo's signing ceremony Tuesday, members of the GOP took credit for the bill's inclusion of stricter penalties for those caught with illegal guns.
The legislation also allows guns to be taken away from those suffering from mental illness. Background checks will now be more extensive, and the state expands Kendra's Law, which allows judges broader discretion in mandating treatment for mental illness.
"I don't want people to have guns who are in the soundest of minds, much less folks with mental health issues," Assemblyman Keith Wright (D-Manhattan) said. "So, I don't think too much ground was ceded. I think it's something that needed to be done."
In a separate development, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced that New York state will no longer invest its pension fund in companies that manufacture firearms.
Cuomo says he has no opinion in the matter and that it is entirely up to the comptroller.