ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and lawmakers agreed on Monday to a broad package of changes to gun laws that would expand the state’s ban on assault weapons and would include new measures to keep guns away from the mentally ill.
The state Senate, controlled by a coalition of Republicans and a handful of Democrats, approved the legislative package just after 11 p.m. by a lopsided vote of 43 to 18. The Assembly, where Democrats who have been strongly supportive of gun control have an overwhelming majority, planned to vote on the measure Tuesday.
Approval of the legislation would make New York the first state to act in response to the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last month.
Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, had pressed lawmakers to move quickly in response to Newtown, saying, “the people of this state are crying out for help.” And the Legislature proceeded with unusual haste: Monday was the first full day of this year’s legislative session.
“We don’t need another tragedy to point out the problems in the system,” Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference.
“Enough people have lost their lives,” he added. “Let’s act.”
The expanded ban on assault weapons would broaden the definition of such weapons, banning semiautomatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines and one military-style feature, as well as semiautomatic shotguns with one military-style feature. New Yorkers who already own such guns could keep them but would be required to register them with the state.
“The message out there is so clear after Newtown,” said the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, a Democrat from Manhattan. “To basically eradicate assault weapons from our streets in New York as quickly as possible is something the people of this state want.”
In an acknowledgment that many people have suggested that part of the solution to gun violence is a better government response to mental illness, the legislation includes not only new restrictions on gun ownership, but also efforts to limit access to guns by the mentally ill.
The most significant new proposal would require mental health professionals to report to local mental health officials when they believe that patients are likely to harm themselves or others. Law enforcement would then be authorized to confiscate any firearm owned by a dangerous patient; therapists would not be sanctioned for a failure to report such patients if they acted “in good faith.”
“People who have mental health issues should not have guns,” Mr. Cuomo told reporters. “They could hurt themselves, they could hurt other people.”
But such a requirement “represents a major change in the presumption of confidentiality that has been inherent in mental health treatment,” said Dr. Paul S. Appelbaum, the director of the Division of Law, Ethics, and Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, who said the Legislature should hold hearings on possible consequences of the proposal.
“The prospect of being reported to the local authorities, even if they do not have weapons, may be enough to discourage patients with suicidal or homicidal thoughts from seeking treatment or from being honest about their impulses,” he said.
The legislation would extend and expand Kendra’s Law, which empowers judges to order mentally ill patients to receive outpatient treatment.
And it would require gun owners to keep weapons inaccessible in homes where a resident has been involuntarily committed, convicted of a crime or is the subject of an order of protection.
The legislative package, which Mr. Cuomo said he believed would be “the most comprehensive package in the nation,” would ban any gun magazine that can hold over 7 rounds of ammunition — the current limit is 10 rounds. It would also require background checks of ammunition buyers and automated alerts to law enforcement of high-volume purchases.
The legislation would increase penalties for multiple crimes committed with guns, would require background checks for most private gun sales, and create a statewide gun-registration database.
Senator Jeffrey D. Klein of the Bronx, the leader of an independent faction of Democrats who have allied with the Republicans to control the Senate, said the measure met the goals of many lawmakers.
Good fo NY, Bluecloud! Mayor Bloomberg of NYC also has cleaned up that city from outlaws, crimes and multishot guns. NYC is safe big city. I would love to see Chicago do the same.
The Ausrialian govt. acted in 12 daysto institute and enact a strict gun law outlawing 10 - 100 round automatic assault rifles and guns and after one horrendous killing rampage by one of their citizens several years ago. GLTALs in ACTC...
Sentiment: Strong Buy
Imposing new regulations will not stop criminals from killing people,, needed are stiffer penalties for the perps if they get caught and let them rot in jail,,also, in the old days we locked up the crazies in asylums so they could not hurt people. Now we give them medicine and send them on their merry way,, this cannot and will never be fixed,, it's all about politics right now,,
Lets ban the guns from the general public - Violate our constitutional rights, make the guns easier to obtain on the black market, no longer traceable, create a whole new market for the organized criminals to make more money, spend more dollars on our justice system to police this new black market demand, make it impossible for a "good" citizen to defend themselves against a mentally insane person intent on killing. Can't buy a bushmaster in Walmart anymore - Don't worry, I know a kid down the street that can get you one with no serial number. Might cost a few hundred more but, hey no need to drive to Walmart just walk down the block. MORE GOVERNMENT, MORE LAWS, MORE TAXES, MORE #$%$ COMING OUT AND SCREAMING MORE CONTROL! Worked real well in the 30s on alcohol control, works great now on marijuana and other drug control. God help this country!
How come all these GOP crybabies who whine about taxes and government never seem to complain when their party wants to waste money and taxes monitoring our bedrooms and vaginas? They all talk "less government" while at the same time are getting millions of dollars from billionaires so they can GET INTO GOVERNMENT. You gotta love this guy who whined about all these things and his guns, then ends his comment with "God save this country". LOL. Hey idiot, what thoughts do you think that teacher had who was riddled with bullets from the guns you are trying to protect? I bet GOD'S name was mentioned in her thoughts too as she and those children were filled with 3 to 11 bullets each. Yes, you are right, GOD HELP THIS COUNTRY. You paranoid fools need medication and therapy. It's amazing how your NRA clowns stated that it's today's music and video games that cause these shootings. Really, I'd have to say that there is PROOF that in this case it was all set in motion by SHOOTING RANGES and GUNS. This punk didn't walk into that school and throw CD's at the kids to kill them fool.