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.
»New York Senate approves gun control bill by a vote of 43 to 18
“Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, or NY SAFE — would enact a number of new measures, including a ban of all magazines that hold more than seven rounds and universal background checks for all gun sales, regardless if they are private, person-to-person sales.
Assault weapons — defined as any rifle with a “military style” feature, such as a bayonet or a telescoping stock — that are currently owned would be grandfathered and would have to be registered with the state. Magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds and manufactured before 1994, which are currently legal, would have to be turned over to authorities or sold out of state within one year. If a magazine has a capacity between eight and 10, it would have to be retrofitted to only hold seven rounds.
Under Cuomo’s plan, the state would have one year to set up an instant background check system for all ammunition purchases. Law enforcement would be alerted to large purchases of ammunition.”
Michael Gormley | AP
People familiar with the internal negotiations say New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have a tentative deal to enact the nation’s first gun control measure following the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.
The tentative agreement would further restrict New York’s ban on assault weapons and limit the size of magazines to seven bullets, rather than the current 10. Other elements, pushed by Republicans, would refine a mental health law that allows for civil confinement of people determined to be a threat to others.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposal had not been discussed among rank and file legislators. They say the tentative deal struck over the weekend will be debated behind closed doors Monday in the Senate and Assembly.
If the deal survives as expected, a bill could be presented this week.
Brooks said taxpayers “should not have to fork out a nickel” to pay for property damage in areas historically vulnerable to storms.
“People have to protect themselves from the risks of weather, particularly if they live in an area that is periodically hit by substantial storms,” Brooks said. “They should not expect American taxpayers to subsidize a vacation home on the beach.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed into law a $9.7 billion bill to pay flood insurance claims from Superstorm Sandy.
The law increases the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA had warned that it was set to run out of money without additional dollars from Congress.
The White House said more than 100,000 flood claim payments from Sandy would be delayed without the additional money.
The House has yet to act on a larger, more comprehensive Sandy aid package. Republican leaders did not bring the bill to the floor before the last session of Congress adjourned
Greg Giroux | Bloomberg
Barack Obama is the first president in more than five decades to win at least 51 percent of the national popular vote twice, according to a revised vote count in New York eight weeks after the Nov. 6 election.
State election officials submitted a final tally on Dec. 31 that added about 400,000 votes, most of them from provisional ballots in the Democratic stronghold of New York City that were counted late in part because of complications caused by Hurricane Sandy.
The president nationally won 65.9 million votes — or 51.1 percent — against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who took 60.9 million votes and 47.2 percent of the total cast, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
In light of the House of Representative’s late-night shelving of a vote to pass an aid package for the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy, President Obama released a statement while vacationing in Hawaii, slamming House Republicans for “refusing” to act, and pleading with the House to get it done today.
“It has only been two months since Hurricane Sandy devastated communities across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut as well as other eastern states,” began the brief statement. “Our citizens are still trying to put their lives back together. Our states are still trying to rebuild vital infrastructure. And so, last month, working closely with the Governors of the affected states, I sent Congress an urgent request to support their efforts to rebuild and recover.”
He continued: “The Senate passed this request with bipartisan support. But the House of Representatives has refused to act, even as there are families and communities who still need our help to rebuild in the months and years ahead, and who also still need immediate support with the bulk of winter still in front of us.”
The president then pleaded: “When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need. I urge Republicans in the House of Representatives to do the same, bring this important request to a vote today, and pass it without delay for our fellow Americans.”