AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY
Newtown, Connecticut - Jan. 15, 2013
1. Soundbite: Donny Ruggiero, resident Newtown: "That's a very tough decision because it's going to have to be over the whole country, not just Connecticut because they can go over the border and buy anything anyway. So really if it's not all the states why even bother? These people go out of their way to retrieve anything they really have to, you know what I mean?"
2. Soundbite: Phil Doran, resident Newtown: "If you just told me they just passed the gun assault weapons in New York I would hope that they would start passing it throughout the United States. I think it's just…look at what happened here in this beautiful town. I don't think assault weapons are needed."
3. Soundbite: Dawn Briggs, resident Newtown: "Of course I'd like to see it in my own state. I'm from New York state originally and I actually posted on Facebook last night how proud I am to be from upstate New York and that they would take action so quickly. I've thought a lot about the fact that if people want to get high powered magazines or those types of guns that they can actually drive to neighboring state to get them so passing laws in the state of Connecticut, well it's not enough. So I was very optimistic when I heard that and I'm anxious to hear what's going to happen in Connecticut."
New York lawmakers agreed to pass the toughest gun control law in the nation and the first since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, calling for a stricter assault weapons ban and provisions to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill who make threats.
The measure also calls for restrictions on ammunition and the sale of guns. It is expected to pass Tuesday.
Under current state law, assault weapons are defined by having two "military rifle" features, such as folding stock, muzzle flash suppressor or bayonet mount. The proposal would reduce that to one feature, including the popular pistol grip. The language specifically targeted the military-style rifle used in the Newtown shootings.
Current owners of those guns will have to register them.
Private sales of assault weapons to someone other than an immediate family would be subject to a background check through a dealer. New Yorkers also would be barred from buying assault weapons over the Internet, and failing to safely store a weapon could lead to a misdemeanor charge.
Ammunition magazines would be restricted to seven bullets, from the current 10, and current owners of higher-capacity magazines would have a year to sell them out of state. An owner caught at home with eight or more bullets in a magazine could face a misdemeanor charge.
Stores that sell ammunition will have to register with the state, run background checks on buyers of bullets and keep an electronic database of bullet sales.
In another provision, a therapist who believes a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally would be required to report it to a mental health director who would have to notify the state. A patient's gun could be taken from him or her.\
The legislation also increases sentences for gun crimes including the shooting of a first responder that Cuomo called the "Webster provision." Last month in the western New York town of Webster, two firefighters were killed after responding to a fire set by the shooter, who eventually killed himself.
The measure passed the Senate 43-18 on the strength of support from Democrats, many of whom previously sponsored bills that were once blocked by Republicans. The Democrat-led Assembly gaveled out before midnight and planned to take the issue up at 10 a.m. Tuesday. It is expected to pass easily.
The governor confirmed the proposal, previously worked out in closed session, also would mandate a police registry of assault weapons, grandfathering in assault weapons already in private hands.
It was agreed upon exactly a month since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.