Governor Andrew Cuomo signed stricter gun and mental health regulations into law today, lauded as the toughest in the nation. The new laws passed both the GOP held Senate and the Democratic majority Assembly with wide margins.
New York’s tougher laws tighten restrictions on gun and magazines allowed in the state, require potentially dangerous behavior in mentally ill persons to be reported to authorities, and require background checks be conducted for private gun sales.
High capacity magazines are now illegal to possess in the New York. The maximum allowed number of bullets per magazine reduced with the new measure from 10 to 7. Cuomo explained the rationale to the seven bullet policy, “The high-capacity magazines that give you the capacity to kill a large number of human beings in a very short period of time is nonsensical to a civil society.” (Reuters)
Ammunition dealers will now be required to conduct background checks as well as report ammunition sales and quantities to the state. Internet sales must be shipped to a licensed dealer within the state.
Part of the measure expands Kendra’s Bill, a 1999 law that governs mentally ill residents. The new measure extends Kendra’s Law into 2017, extends the time judges can require residents to undergo mandatory counseling from six months to one year. Additionally, the law will require mental health professionals to report potentially dangerous clients and provides guidelines for reporting.
The measure passed quickly, within the span of a few days. Cuomo explained he wanted to prevent a sudden rush to purchase guns and ammunition. Critics have suggested the law passed quietly to “trample gun owners’ rights” in secret. The NRA has called the bill “draconian.”
Even so, in the wake of Connecticut’s tragedy at Sandy Hook and aftermath of copycat violence, guns are in the spotlight. A number of states have proposed stricter measures, which include requiring guns to remain locked away when not in use, annual gun owner registration, and bans on the types of guns a civilian can possess. Federal limits may change too; President Obama is currently reviewing proposals from the Vice President on gun violence, and expected to announce plans within the week.