New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed into law the first gun control bill to be adopted following the Dec. 14 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. — with the support of the state lawmakers who represent Southampton.
Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, whose district includes the entire East End, voted in favor of the bill, as did Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr., I-Sag Harbor, who represents the South Fork and Shelter Island.
The Senate passed the legislation, called the NY Secure Firearms and Ammunition Enforcement (SAFE) Act, on Monday by a vote of 43 to 18. The Assembly followed suit on Tuesday by a vote of 104 to 43, and Cuomo signed it into law just hours later.
According to the governor's office, New York will be the first state to completely ban all pre-1994 high capacity magazines; to ban any magazine that can hold more than seven rounds, down from a limit of 10; and to conduct real-time background checks of ammunition purchases in order to alert law enforcement of high volume buyers.
The bill closes the "gun show loophole, which allowed sales of firearms without criminal background checks. The act also includes a tougher assault weapons ban and it requires mental health professional to report when they have reason to believe patients are likely to cause serious harm to themselves or others, among other provisions.
Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver said in a statement, "No civilian needs or should be able to purchase an assault weapon intended to kill as many human beings as swiftly as possible. Let us be perfectly clear — this bill is about protecting people. Protecting our children. Protecting our families. Protecting first responders, police officers, and firefighters."
The National Rifle Association called the bill "draconian."
"These gun control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime," an NRA statement reads. "Sadly, the New York Legislature gave no consideration to that reality. While lawmakers could have taken a step toward strengthening mental health reporting and focusing on criminals, they opted for trampling the rights of law-abiding gun owners in New York, and they did it under a veil of secrecy in the dark of night."
East Hampton Patch asked the followers of our Facebook page what they thought of the legislation and its passage.
Marina McCreery said, "Someone had to start the ACTION ! Good work."
John Behan, a former Republican state assemblyman and Montauk resident, said: "No it does nothing to keep illegal guns out of criminals hands. Pass a new law and only upstanding citizens will obey them. Bats, knives, cars & drugs kill more people than guns. The Governor should do something about them instead he's grandstanding to get liberal support to be President."
What do you think of the NY SAFE Act. Join the conversation by leaving your comments below.