New York Gov. Cuomo Signs Tough New Gun Control Law
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On Tuesday, New York's Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a sweeping new gun control law, making the state the first to pass new gun control legislation following the grade school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
What follows is a description of the new law taken from the Governor's website on Tuesday afternoon:
NY SAFE ACT OF 2013
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation, called the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (NY SAFE ACT), to give New York State the most comprehensive gun laws in the nation, which will keep guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous mental health patients and ban high capacity magazines and assault weapons. This bill does not affect rifles and shotguns used by traditional sportsmen and hunters.
New York will be the first state in the nation to:
- Completely ban all pre-1994 high capacity magazines
- Ban any magazine that can hold over 7 rounds (down from a limit of 10)
- Conduct real time background checks of ammunition purchases in order to alert law enforcement of high volume buyers
Key provisions of the bill include:
Mental Health Alert: Under the legislation, mental health professionals will be required to report to local mental health officials when there is reason to believe a patient is likely to engage in conduct that will cause serious harm to themselves or others. This information will then be crosschecked against the new comprehensive, and regularly updated, gun registration database. If the patient possesses a gun, the license will be suspended and law enforcement will be authorized to remove the person's firearm.
Tougher assault weapons ban: The legislation outlines a stricter definition of assault weapons, and implements an immediate ban of defined assault weapons. Under the stricter definitions, semi-automatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines and one military style feature will be considered assault weapons. Semi-automatic shotguns with one military style feature will also be considered assault weapons. Assault weapons possessed before the effective date must be registered within a year recertified every five years. Owners of grandfathered assault weapons may only sell out of state or through an in state federal firearms licensee. Under the legislation, the Bushmaster used in the Newtown, Connecticut shooting would be illegal.
Stronger regulations on ammunition: Under the legislation, New York will have the strongest ban on high capacity magazines in the country, with a limit on capacity of seven rounds, down from the current limit of ten. The legislation includes a ban on possession of pre-1994 high capacity magazines, and will require owners to sell the banned magazines out of state within one year. Existing ten round magazines can be grandfathered in, but may only be loaded with 7 rounds.
To track high-volume ammunition purchasers, the legislation will make New York the first state in the nation to track ammo purchases in real time. All dealers in ammunition must be registered with the State Police, and each sale will require both a state background check and transmission of a record of the sale to State Police, so as to enable alerts of high volume purchases. Ammunition records will be purged within a year of submission. Dealers must report any loss of inventory. The legislation will also include a ban on direct internet sales of ammunition. Ammunition ordered over the internet must be delivered in a face-to-face transaction with a firearms dealer and the purchaser will be subject to the state background check. The Aurora shooter reportedly amassed 6000 rounds through direct online purchases.
Statewide recertification of handguns and assault rifles: The legislation will require individuals who own a handgun or an assault rifle to recertify their permit every five years through their county of residence. With this more accurate information, the state will establish an electronic gun permit database that may be run against other databases containing the names of people who would be disqualified from possessing firearms, including those with criminal convictions, involuntary commitments, and those subject to orders of protection, as well as death records.