On the one-month anniversary of the Newtown mass shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults, the Associated Press is reporting that the state of New York is likely to pass the first comprehensive gun safety measures since the massacre. If passed, the gun control law would be among the toughest in the nation.
While today, families of the victims and Newtown police Chief Michael Kehoe called for a ban on assault weapons and restrictions on high-capacity magazines, the New York law, if passed, would expand the state’s already-existing ban on assault weapons as well as restrict ammunition magazines to seven bullets from the current 10.
Other provisions of the “tentative” deal reached between Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders in Albany include tougher penalties for gun crimes, new measures to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and requiring background checks on private gun sales. The New York Times reports that the bill would also expand a 1999 law called Kendra’s Law — named after a woman who was pushed to her death in front of an NYC subway train by a schizophrenic man — that allows judges the authority to order mentally ill patients to receive oupatient psychiatric care.
Albany wasn’t the only place making headlines today in regards to gun control. Downstate, New York City public advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio announced he is targeting 12 finance firms investing in gunmakers. And current NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg brought his Mayors Against Illegal Guns campaign to Baltimore, MD, where he spoke about the urgent need for new gun laws at a gun violence summit held at Bloomberg’s alma mater, Johns Hopkins University.
And in Annapolis, MD, Democratic governor Martin O’Malley came forward yesterday with his own tough gun control plan that would ban assault weapons, restrict ammunition magazines to 10 from the current 20, restrict visitor access to schools, keep guns away from mentally ill people with violent tendencies, require digital fingerprinting for prospective gun owners, gun safety training, and mandatory background checks.
On the national level, at the last press conference of his first term, President Obama today reiterated his support for reinstating a federal ban on assault weapons, setting up a battle between the White House and the National Rifle Association — which opposes all gun safety regulations — for votes in Congress.
“What you can count on is that the things that I’ve said in the past — the belief that we have to have stronger background checks, that we can do a much better job in terms of keeping these magazine clips with high capacity out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, an assault weapons ban that’s meaningful — those are things I continue to believe make sense,” the president said.
Photo credit: Pat Arnow via Wikimedia