NY gun law will require background checks for ammo purchases

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law on Tuesday a sweeping package of gun control measures, significantly expanding a ban on assault weapons and making New York the first state to change its laws in response to the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

Mr. Cuomo signed the bill less than an hour after the State Assembly approved the legislation on a 104-to-43 vote. The State Senate approved the measure, 43 to 18, on Monday night.

The expanded ban on assault weapons would broaden the definition of such weapons, banning semiautomatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines and one military-style feature, as well as semiautomatic shotguns with one military-style feature. New Yorkers who already own such guns could keep them but would be required to register them with the state.

The legislative package, which Mr. Cuomo on Monday said he believed would be “the most comprehensive package in the nation,” would also ban any gun magazine that can hold more than 7 rounds of ammunition – the current limit is 10 rounds. It would also require background checks of ammunition buyers and automated alerts to law enforcement agencies of high-volume purchases.

The National Rifle Association issued a statement denouncing the measure, saying, “These gun control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime.”

“The legislature caved to the political demands of a governor and helped fuel his personal political aspirations,” the organization said. “New York lawmakers have ignored and excluded gun owners throughout this legislative process, but the N.R.A. and our New York members remain committed to having a meaningful conversation about protecting our children and will speak frankly about the lawmakers who have failed to do so.”

But Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a vocal advocate of gun control, hailed the legislation, saying it “protects the Second Amendment rights of people, and at the same time it makes all New Yorkers safer.”

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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