The New York Senate on Monday passed the first sweeping new gun measures since the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., last month. The bill will be taken up by the New York assembly this morning and is expected to pass easily into law.
The bill includes a strict assault weapons ban and will also entail additional restrictions on ammunition and gun sales. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the proposal on Monday after weeks of negotiations with lawmakers, and waived the typical three-day waiting period to get the bill passed immediately.
The beefed-up assault weapons ban will expand the definition of what is considered an assault weapon. As it stands, assault weapons are defined as rifles with at least two "military rifle features." That threshold will be reduced to one, and the features will also include pistol grips.
Sentences will be increased for gun crimes that include the shooting of a first responder — called the Webster provision — following the killing of two firefighters responding to a call in the New York town of Webster on Christmas Eve.
Here are some of the other features of the bill:
- A therapist who believes a patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally will be required to report it to a mental health director, who must tell that information to the state.
- Private sales of an assault weapon to someone not in the immediate family are now subject to a background check.
- Internet sales of assault weapons are banned.
- Ammunition magazines will be restricted to seven bullets, and current owners of high capacity magazines have one year to sell them out of state.
- Failing to safely store a weapon will be subject to a misdemeanor charge.
The bill passed the Senate 43-18, and the New York Assembly is expected to pass it this morning after taking up the issue. Governor Cuomo is widely expected to sign it following a fiery State of the State speech and a distinct public push for new measures.
Cuomo issued a statement after the bill passed in the Senate, saying the lawmakers " made a bold statement, coming together in a bipartisan, collaborative manner to meet the challenges that face our state and our nation."
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