The New York Senate passed the “SAFE Act” proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday at 43-18 votes, just before midnight. The new bill is the result of a bipartisan effort that emerged after the Newtown, Connecticut shooting and will severely restrict the ownership and acquisition of “assault weapons” as well as magazine capacity.
According to USA Today, Governor Cuomo waived the mandatory 3-day aging period for the bill so that the SAFE Act could go immediately to the New York Assembly yesterday for voting. The Assembly was in favor of the bill at 104-43, which allowed Governor Cuomo to sign the law into effect.
“This will be the toughest gun control package in the nation,” said Senator Jeffrey Klein. 18 Republicans voted against the bill in the Senate and many criticize the SAFE act for invading the privacy and rights of law-abiding citizens. Mental health advocates are also concerned that the new bill may be abused, as provisions require therapists to report potentially violent patients.
Some of the provisions include:
- A redefinition of an assault weapon as having one military feature, such as folding stock, pistol grip or bayonet mount. Current owners of weapons that fall under this category will have to register them with the authorities. Unsafe storage of these weapons is now criminal.
- A ban on internet sales of assault weapons.
- Magazine capacity is limited to seven bullets. Existing magazines can be modified or sold out of state.
- Therapists are required to report patients who express a desire to use guns illegally.
- Laws protecting the privacy of gun permit holders under the Freedom of Information law.
- Registration of ammunition purchases.