NYS home to toughest gun law in nation

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York is home to the toughest gun control law in the entire nation. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the NY Safe Act into law just after 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

In a state capital where many New Yorkers say nothing gets done quickly, New York became the first state to dramatically overhaul its gun control laws since the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut one month ago. The Legislature in Albany passed the bill in just two days after Governor Cuomo issued an order suspending the three days of public review that's usually required.

The ban on military-style weapons takes effect immediately. There are also tougher punishments now for gun crimes carried out on school property. And it's now against the law to sell assault weapons over the internet.

MORE | See a full list of provisions that are now law in NYS as well as which WNY lawmakers voted for and against the bill

The NY Safe Act also requires background checks for on all private gun sales, reinforces the state's existing assault weapons ban, limits the number of bullets held in magazines, and strengthens rules that keep the mentally ill from owning firearms.

Assemblyman David DiPietro, who voted against the bill, said, "From what I understand, 12 times as many homicides are committed in New York State by people who are on drugs and on welfare. So I would assume that if later in the year, if a bill is going to be brought up that we are going to drug-test all welfare recipients, that we would be in a unanimous support for that."

Assemblywoman Jane Corwin also voted against the measure. Monday night she sent out a message on Twitter regarding the secrecy of the meetings and said, "Reminds me of the Paterson administration. Functional government starts at the top."

The New York State GOP released a statement praising Republicans for the addition of certain items but also said:

"However, in his rush to be the first Governor in the nation to pass any gun control legislation, Cuomo missed the opportunity to get gun policy right."

But the Governor stands by his decision to bypass the normal three-day comment period before a vote.

"It wouldn't make a heck of a lot of sense to announce a ban three days later and just generate hundreds and hundreds of sales of assault weapons in the state when we're trying to ban those sales," Governor Cuomo argued.

The act includes a statewide gun registry and adds a uniform licensing standard across the state. Currently, each county or municipality sets their own standard.

Mental health professionals will now be required to report any patient who owns a gun and is considered to be a threat to themselves or anyone else.

And if you own certain assault-style weapons that you bought before 1994, those have to be registered for the first time. Pistol permit holders will also now have to re-certify at least every five years.

The National Rifle Association says it is "outraged" by this law. It says it will have no impact on safety in New York State. Around 250,000 have joined the association since calls for gun control re-emerged after the Newtown massacre.

In western New York, the line of gun owners spilled out the front door most of Tuesday morning at the Buffalo Gun Center in Cheektowaga. People started lining up before the doors even opened, looking to buy a rifle or ammunition clip before they became illegal.

Steven Adamski said, "What right does the government got to want to come after law-abiding citizens when hoodlums on the street, they arrest them and they are out in three weeks? And they are shooting other people, and they get back in jail and they let them go again."

Peter Creighton added, "The scrutiny that people go through to be able to buy guns and own pistol permits and all that already is enough. NYS already has some of the strictest laws, so why make NY so tough on everybody who follows the laws?"

People who own 10-round clips can still use those clips as long as they only put seven rounds in them. There are several other provisions in the law. You can see all of them here.

Copyright 2014 WIVB.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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New York (change)

Democrat Andrew Cuomo is Governor of New York.  Two Democrats represent NYS in the U.S. Senate, and NY has 29 representatives in the U.S. House: 21 Democrats and 8 Republicans.
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Governor: Andrew Cuomo
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