The state Senate voted Monday night 43-18 on a package of legislation that would expand the state’s ban on assault weapons and keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill individuals, reported The New York Times.
If passed in the House, the new legislation will represent the first, most comprehensive gun reform by any state, following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., last month.
“The message out there is so clear after Newtown,” said the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, a Democrat from Manhattan. “To basically eradicate assault weapons from our streets in New York as quickly as possible is something the people of this state want.”
The new assault weapons legislation would:
- Ban any gun magazine that can hold over 7 rounds of ammunition — the current limit is 10 rounds.
- Require background checks of ammunition buyers and automated alerts to law enforcement of high-volume purchases.
- Increase penalties for multiple crimes committed with guns
- Require background checks for most private gun sales
- Create a statewide gun-registration database.
- Require gun owners to keep weapons inaccessible in homes where a resident has been involuntarily committed, convicted of a crime or is the subject of an order of protection.
But the most significant reform comes in the form of new strict limitation on access to guns by the mentally ill:
The new bill will require psychiatrists, doctors and other mental health professions to report to authorities any patients they are likely to harm themselves or others. Law enforcement would then be authorized to confiscate any firearm owned by a dangerous patient.
The Assembly, where Democrats have an overwhelming majority, will vote on the measure today.