Cuomo gun bill has 'Journal News clause'
By DYLAN BYERS | 1/15/13 2:46 PM EST
In addition to expanding New York's ban on assault weapons and implementing new measures to keep guns away the mentally ill, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new gun legislation package includes a "Journal News clause" that would prohibit newspapers from publishing the names and addresses of gun permit owners.
The clause is a direct response to the Journal News, the newspaper based in West Nyack, N.Y., which last month published a "gun map" with the names and addresses of gun permit owners in Westchester and Rockland counties. If the legislation passes, the names and addresses of pistol permit holders can no longer be requested by reporters under New York's Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL).
“As a community we stood firm on principle and fought for common sense against the idiocy of the Journal News. Tonight we have won a big battle against their unwarranted invasion of privacy," Republican State Senator Greg Ball said in a statement. "... I am personally grateful that the Journal News will never be able to do something as dangerous and idiotic as this again.”
The New York State Senate has passed the regulations, which wait approval from the State Assembly.
The Rockland County Times, a Journal News competitor, has more details.
UPDATE (4:19 p.m.): The bill has passed the legislature.
UPDATE (5:45 p.m.) The law has now been passed by both chambers and signed by Cuomo
Assemblyman Steve Katz said legislators were being "bullied." He said the bill is "solely for the governor's egotistical, misguided notion."
Republicans argued the bill wouldn't stop mass shootings or other gun crimes but instead turns law-abiding into potential criminals.
Republican Assemblyman James Tedisco said the bill was dangerous because it would give people a "false sense of well-being."
"You are using innocent children killed by a mad man for own political agenda," he said. "You are actually making people less safe."
Republican Sen. Greg Ball called that political opportunism in a rare criticism of the popular and powerful governor seen by his supporters as a possible candidate for president in 2016.
"We haven't saved any lives tonight, except one: the political life of a governor who wants to be president," said Ball who represents part of the Hudson Valley. "We have taken an entire category of firearms that are currently legal that are in the homes of law-abiding, tax paying citizens. ... We are now turning those law-abiding citizens into criminals."
The closed-door meetings prompted about a dozen gun workers to travel more than two hours to Albany to protest the legislation they say could cost 300 to 700 jobs in the economically hard-hit Mohawk Valley.
"I have three small kids myself," said Jamie Rudall, a unionized worker who polishes shotgun receivers. "So I know what it means, the tragedy ... we need to look at ways to prevent that, rather than eliminate the rights of law-abiding citizens."
Assemblyman Marc Butler, a Republican who represents the area, decried the closed-door meetings by Senate Republicans and the Democratic majority of the Assembly as "politics at its worst."
The bill would be the first test of the new coalition in control of the Senate, which has long been run by Republicans opposed to gun control measures. The chamber is now in the hands of Republicans and five breakaway Democrats led by Klein, an arrangement expected to result in more progressive legislation.
Former Republican Sen. Michael Balboni said that for legislators from the more conservative upstate region of New York, gun control "has the intensity of the gay marriage issue." In 2011, three of four Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote for same-sex marriage ended up losing their jobs because of their votes.
The New York gun control provisions expected to be passed Monday cover several fronts.
The provisions discussed in private conferences were confirmed to The Associated Press by five officials, Republicans and Democrats, in the Assembly and the Senate. The proposals would:
—Further restrict assault weapons to define them by a single feature, such as a pistol grip. Current law requires two features.
—Make the unsafe storage of assault weapons a misdemeanor.
—Mandate a police registry of assault weapons.
—Establish a state registry for all private sales, with a background check done through a licensed dealer for a fee, excluding sales to immediate relatives.
—Require a therapist who believes a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally to report the threat to a mental health director who would then have to report serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. A patient's gun could be taken from him or her.
—Ban the Internet sale of assault weapons.
—Restrict ammunition magazines to seven bullets, from the current 10. Current owners of higher-capacity magazines would have a year to sell them out of state. An owner caught at home with eight or more bullets in a magazine could face a misdemeanor charge.
—Require that stolen guns be reported within 24 hours. Otherwise, the owner would face a possible misdemeanor.
—Increase sentences for gun crimes including for taking a gun on school property.
—Limit the state records law to protect handgun owners from being identified publicly. The provision would allow a handgun permit holder a means to maintain privacy under the Freedom of Information law.
The proposal comes as Republican state Sen. Greg Ball criticized The Journal News newspaper for identifying pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties based on a FOIL request.
The officials requested anonymity because lawmakers hadn't yet signed off on some provisions.
Copyright Associated Press