By Becky Bratu and Pete Williams, NBC News
New York lawmakers on Tuesday approved the toughest gun control legislation in the nation, expanding the state’s existing assault weapons ban and addressing gun ownership by those with mental illnesses in the first major legislative action in response to the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.
The measure passed the state Assembly 104-43 after passing the state Senate 43-18 Monday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation quickly on Tuesday.
New York’s law will:
- Ban possession of any high-capacity magazines regardless of when they were made or sold. Going forward, only clips able to hold up to seven rounds can be sold in the state. Clips able to hold 7-10 rounds can be possessed, but cannot be loaded with more than seven rounds.
- Require ammunition dealers to do background checks, similar to those for gun buyers. Dealers will be required to report all sales, including amounts, to the state. Internet sales of ammunition will be allowed, but the ammunition will have to be shipped to a licensed dealer in New York state for pickup.
- Most controversially, the New York law will require therapists, who believes a mental health patient made a credible threat of harming others, to report the threat to a mental health director, who would then have to report serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. A patient’s gun could be taken from him or her, as well.
In two respects, New York’s law will be as strict as California’s, because it will:
- Tighten the state’s existing limit on selling “assault” weapons by counting any firearm that has even a single feature deemed illegal.
- Require background checks for all gun sales, including by private dealers — except for sales to members of the seller’s immediate family.
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