Last evening, I was proud to join my Democratic colleagues in the State Senate to provide the necessary margin of votes to pass Governor Cuomo's NY SAFE Act of 2013, which enacts the toughest assault weapons ban in the nation. This long-overdue legislation expands our State’s ban on assault weapons by closing a myriad of loopholes and, among other things, requires background checks to be conducted prior to all private gun sales and ammunition purchases, establishes a statewide gun permit database, and requires individuals who own guns to renew their permits every five years.
The tragedy at Sandy Hook and the spate of gun violence across New York City last summer were stark reminders of this legislation's urgent necessity. I congratulate the Governor and my colleagues in the State Senate and Assembly for breaking the decades-long grip of the gun lobby on the legislature and am hopeful that our action will spur other states and even the federal government to strengthen their own gun laws.
That said, we have more work to do. We need to ensure that the mental health reporting provisions of this legislation do not infringe upon patient privacy. And the legislation did not have a requirement for microstamping, ballistic identification technology that would allow police to positively link used cartridge cases recovered at crime scenes to the firearms and criminals that fired them. I will continue to work with my colleagues in government to improve these and other aspects of New York's gun laws.