New gun control legislation passed, signed

Andrew Cuomo signing SAFE Act

Andrew Cuomo signing the legislation shortly after 5 pm on Tuesday.

The state Assembly passed -- and Andrew Cuomo signed (video) -- the NY Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act Tuesday afternoon. The state Senate passed the gun legislation late Monday night. The law takes effect immediately, though many provisions in it don't start right away.

The law is notable for a few reasons. New York now has the strictest assault rifle ban in the nation. And, from a symbolic and political perspective, New York becomes the first state to pass new gun control legislation after the Newtown shootings.

A quick overview of what's included in the law is after the jump, as well as a rundown of how Capital Region legislators voted.

Among the provisions

+ Bans any semi-automatic gun with a detachable magazine that also has at least one of the following characteristics: a folding or telescoping stock, a pistol grip that "protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon," a thumbhole stock, a second handgrip, a bayonet mount, a flash suppressor (or ability to attach one), or grenade launcher. (The previous law banned guns with two of those characteristics.)

The Cuomo admin says the type of gun used in the Newtown shooting is illegal now under this law.

+ Within a year any such guns grandfathered under this bill will have to be registered -- and they can only be sold to a firearms dealer or out-of-state buyer.

+ Bans gun magazines that hold more than 7 rounds (the previous law banned magazines that hold more than 10 rounds). Prohibits the possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, regardless of when they were made.

+ Require sellers of ammunition to run buyers through a "a State-created review of disqualifiers to ensure that the buyer is not prohibited by law from possessing ammunition." Also: any ammunition sold commercially must be sold through a seller who can run a background check, and sellers must keep records of what's sold and to whom.

+ Requires background checks for all gun sales, even private sales, except between immediate family.

+ Establishes a new statewide gun license and record database.

+ Licenses for handguns or registered assault weapons must be re-certified every five years.

+ Allows people applying for a gun license to request that their application info not become publicly available. (This is a response to the Journal News gun license map situation)

+ Require gun owners keep their guns locked in a safe (or other secure storage) if the gun owner lives with someone who by law is not allowed to possess a gun.

+ Require gun owners who lose a gun or ammunition -- or has them stolen -- to report the loss or theft to police within 24 hours.

+ Require mental professionals to report an individual if, "in the exercise of reasonable professional judgement," they believe the person is likely to act in a way that will cause serious harm to himself/herself or others. The law allows the gun licenses for these people to be revoked or suspended. Also: the law revokes the gun license of -- and requires the surrender of any guns belonging to -- anyone a court finds not responsible (or a plea is accepted) because of mental illness.

+ Allow judges to require a licensee to surrender his or her gun when an order of protection has been issued against him or her.

+ Automatically reclassifies the intentional killing of first responders such as firefighters, EMTs, ambulance drivers, paramedics, physicians, or registered nurses so that a conviction means life without parole. (This provision is a response to the December shootings in Webster, New York.)

+ Elevates a handful of crimes -- including possession of a gun on school grounds, and purchasing a gun from someone the buyer knows isn't allowed to have a gun -- to the felony level.

Full text from Open Senate.

A breakdown of provisions from the Cuomo administration.

Update: The Cuomo administration has posted a long FAQ about the law.

How they voted

Jim Tedisco pulled out his pocked-sized copy of the US Constitution while speaking against the bill.


The bill passed the state Senate 43-18.

Neil Breslin (D) - yes
Hugh Farley (R) - no
Kathy Marchione (R) - no (statement)


The bill passed the Assembly 104-43. Gannett's Albany Watch has posted the member-by-member rundown.

Pat Fahy (D) - yes
Tony Jordan (R) - no
John McDonald (D) - yes
Steve McLaughlin (R) - no (comments)
Angelo Santabarbara (D) - yes
Phil Steck (D) - yes
Jim Tedisco (R) - no

screengrab: Cuomo admin / Livestream


I am really proud to be a New Yorker right now.

I am really proud to be a criminal right now.

I wonder how residents of our more violent neighborhoods will decide who's responsible for registering the community guns.

Good job NY.

I second Ned, very proud to live in NY - where this legislation not only passed, but passed in swift response to a what is so clearly a devastating problem in this country.

Great! And it only took, what, 20 dead kids to get this logical law passed? Should've been done years ago.

I'm a bit concerned at the step back toward criminalizing mental illness. At this point, anyone who tells their therapist that they've thought of killing themselves will have to be reported. That puts both the patient and the therapist in a difficult position in many cases. I'd much rather see the reporting done on the basis of a diagnosis of psychosis (covering delusional behavior) or a history of violent sociopathic behavior. On balance, though, good work by the legislature and good for Cuomo for signing it.

And for those who don't think it will do any good? I think it's a good bet that our previous gun control laws, among the strictest in the country, have a lot to do with the fact that not only was the violent crime rate (FBI statistics, 2010) in New York *State* lower than in South Carolina (by about 50%), the violent crime rate in New York *City* was lower than in South Carolina.

Let's face it: People who aren't going to follow the law are not going to follow the law!
Conventional and responsible gun owners will register their weapons. Big deal.
& irresponsible gun owners will not. Isn’t that obvious?!
A useless response is better than no response but I wish the government would move this quickly when it comes to other issues...

just because this is now the law of the land does not mean that criminals will follow these laws. the fact remains that if someone wants to commit a crime they will find a way. laws cannot stop evil.

I also don't like the mental illness part of this law. It needs to be addressed but all this seems to do is create a situation where the patient will not see a therapist or won't talk about their homicidal ideations.

I'm not sure about the 7 rounds in a clip thing. I would like to hear more from people who use guns about what they think of the law outside of the usual NRA PR lines being echoed.

If legalizing guns means only criminals will have guns, then why aren't there criminals using automatic weapons? There are arguments for protecting gun rights but most tend to restate the same rehashed hokey BS over and over again.

I too am proud to be a New Yorker. And to those who say the new laws won't prevent future shootings, I say - I don't care. To those who say its dangerous to make a rash and emotional decision, I say - I don't care. Six year olds died, we had to do something.

Barold, that's an incredibly stupid response. The same type of thinking got us strip searching children in our airports, warrantless surveillance, the extra-judicial assassination of American citizens (including children), and the invasion of Iraq.


And for those of you who think that the 2nd Amendment exists for "huting", ask yourself just how safe you feel with a government willing to do the above.

You clowns deserve the government you've got. If anyone needs me, I'll be perusing real estate listings out of state.

Hey Ike - I don't care what you think.

Having an 'energized' public debate on the issue of gun violence is a good thing. What isn't so good is that the debate on both sides has been based on fear. Rather than approaching this complex issue using reason and analysis, both sides end up using scare tactics.

2011 there were 774 murders in NY.

FIVE count it 5 yes FIVE were by rifle. Criminals use pistols overwhelmingly (in NY as well as elsewhere). In NY pistols require background checks, there is no "gunshow loophole" (you cannot sell privately without going through a dealer with an FFL and ATF background check). So what we have done here is raise most rifles to the level of rigor that we currently do for pistols. Which based on FACTS and NUMBERS does not work. The felons get them no matter what, regardless of what laws are in place. Stop trying to control the mentally ill and criminally insane with laws that simply offend and trample the rights of law abiding citizens. Let us protect ourselves, our families, and our homes. This bill was rammed through in the night; without public input or comments. There needs to be a discussion, we owe it to ourselves and our children. How this law was passed is a disgrace.

What meaningful impact does reducing the magazine capacity from 10 to 7 accomplish? I would rather see anyone deemed to be fit to own a gun be allowed to purchase any non-military pistol or rifle they want to so long as it can only fire one round before having to be manually reloaded (no magazine at all).

Before anyone throws out the old saw "Only criminals...." A law with a 30 year sentence, no plea bargaining, no parole, should make all but the insane, who won't care one way or the other, think a lot more than twice before carrying a multi round weapon.

this will land before the USSC sooner than we think

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