NATIONAL (BTSNews) Jan. 15, 2013 -- Today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the toughest gun control laws in the nation -- and the first new state gun laws since the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.
"What we're saying today is some of these weapons is beyond what we believe to be reasonable for purchase for New Yorkers," said Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, a Manhattan Democrat who chairs the state chapter of State Legislators Against Illegal Guns.
Assault Weapons -- The New York gun control laws provide that any semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and pistols with with a "military rifle" feature -- such as a flash suppressor, bayonet mount or telescoping stock -- are immediately banned. Guns that had been legal but now banned would be grandfathered in, but their owners must register the weapons with the state. Further, every assault weapon sale, whether sold through a private dealer or not, will be subject to a comprehensive background check, while Internet sales of assault weapons will be banned altogether.
Ammunition Magazines -- The legal limit for ammunition magazines is reduced from ten to seven bullets. Under the New York gun control laws, residents who own higher capacity magazines will have one-year to sell them out of state before they are in violation of the new law. They may also elect to retrofit the magazines to only hold seven rounds at the owner's expense.Those who refuse could face a misdemeanor for possession of high-capacity ammo clips.
The Mentially Ill -- There are also provisions to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. This change may arguably have the greatest impact on gun possession, as it permits closer monitoring of the mentally ill. For those with certain psychiatric histories who desire to purchase a firearm, the new law mandates psychiatric outpatient review for a year and requires an additional review before such treatment is allowed to expire.
Webster Provision -- The legislation also includes the so-called "Webster provision," mandating a life-without-parole sentence for anyone found to have killed a first responder. This provision references the Christmas Eve shooting in a Rochester, N.Y. where two firefighters were shot and killed.
The passage of the New York gun control laws sets a high benchmark for the national gun control debate. The legislatures in at least 10 other states are also considering new gun control regulations.