New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed new gun-control measures into law today.
The bill passed the State Senate late Monday night by 43-18 and the State Assembly by a 104-to-43 vote today, reports the Associated Press.
At a news conference at the State Capitol in Albany, New York, Cuomo said he was proud “not just because New York has the first bill, but because New York has the best bill.”
“I’m proud to be a New Yorker because New York is doing something. because we are fighting back. Common sense can win. You can overpower the extremists with intelligence and with reason and with common sense.”
State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, a Brooklyn Democrat and co-sponsor of the law, told the Associated Press: “When there’s a pileup of events, when the federal government does not do it, the state of New York has to lead the way.”
According to the new law, owners of semi-automatic rifles will be allowed to keep their weapons, but will have a year to register them with police. The sale of any more semi-automatic rifles is prohibited.
That part of the law debunked conservatives who falsely claimed that Gov. Cuomo would confiscate all guns.
The law also restricts ammunition magazines to seven rounds, creates a more comprehensive database of people banned from owning guns and requires background checks to buy bullets. The database will also help flag customers who buy large amounts of ammo.
Another part of the law requires that therapists, doctors and other mental health professionals to tell state authorities if a patient threatens to use a gun illegally. The patient’s weapon could be taken away.
Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, said that the new law is "an important message for the nation."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, added: “Make no mistake, we still have serious questions to answer when it comes to our culture of violence. But we have taken a critical step forward today, a step we owe to the victims of Newtown, Webster and in communities everywhere.”
However, Assemblyman Marc Butler, a Republican from upstate Herkimer County, said: “This bill tramples on the constitutional rights of our citizens.”
In a statement, the National Rifle Association said: “These gun control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime.”
“While lawmakers could have taken a step toward strengthening mental health reporting and focusing on criminals, they opted for trampling the rights of law-abiding gun owners in New York, and they did it under a veil of secrecy in the dark of night."
President Obama will unveil his own gun control proposals on Wednesday. He reportedly favors a ban on assault weapons, but faces powerful opposition from the gun lobby, which profits from such sales.