Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, Secretary to the Governor Larry Schwartz, L, and Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy.
Mike Groll/ Associated Press
New York’s Assembly on Tuesday easily passed the toughest gun control law in the nation and the first since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, calling for a tougher assault weapons ban and provisions to try to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill who make threats.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed hard for the bill, which passed the Senate on Monday night. He is expected to quickly sign the measure into law.
“This is a scourge on society,” Cuomo said Monday night, six days after making gun control a centerpiece of his State of the State address. The bipartisan effort was fueled by the Newtown tragedy that took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators. “At what point do you say, ‘No more innocent loss of life’?”
The measure, which passed the Assembly 104-43, also calls for restrictions on ammunition and the sale of guns.
“This is not about taking anyone’s rights away,” said Sen. Jeffrey Klein, a Bronx Democrat, when the bill passed the Senate late Monday night. “It’s about a safe society … today we are setting the mark for the rest of the county to do what’s right.”
Another provision places requirements on therapists, psychologists, registered nurses and licensed social workers who believe a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally. They would be required to report such a threat to a mental health director, who would have to notify the state. Any registered handguns — or registered assault weapons purchased before the ban — could be taken from the patient.
Though the Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos said “It is well-balanced, it protects the Second Amendment,” some of the Tea Party demagogues who infest the Republican Party raised the usual NRA stink in opposition.
They failed to stop passage of the bill and Governor Cuomo will sign it.