ALBANY – In the opening days of the 2013-2014 legislative session, the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly overwhelmingly passed a bold and bipartisan legislative package that enacts new comprehensive gun control measures statewide. Passage of this legislation, known as the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE Act) marks the New York State Senate’s bipartisan Majority Coalition’s first major legislative success. Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) praised the deal as a smart, thorough, and balanced approach towards addressing gun violence.
Senator Klein said, “New Yorkers send us to Albany to deliver big results—and today, we’ve done exactly that. By working across the aisle, we produced a comprehensive package that an overwhelming number of legislators could support. This package preserves the constitutional rights of legal gun owners, while also recognizing that those rights are not absolute and must come with reasonable, common sense restrictions. We’ve taken major steps in the right direction by passing this bill. We’ve passed a full-throated ban on assault weapons. We’ve taken high capacity magazines off of store shelves. We’ve gotten serious about treating illegal gun owners as criminals. We’ve closed loopholes in the gun sales laws. And we’ve taken truly historic steps towards keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. More than anything else, that’s something that I am truly proud of.”
Included in the gun control package is the ban of all new assault weapons, a reduction of rounds permissible in a magazine from 10 to 7, a closure of loopholes in background checks in private gun transactions, an establishment of a School Safety Task Force responsible for assessing school safety plans, the standardization of pistol permit applications and the increase in state penalties for illegal gun possession.
Also contained in the NY SAFE Act are critical measures addressing mental illness and its role in gun violence. Senator Klein advocated strongly for a provision that will require mental health professionals to report individuals deemed a serious threat to themselves or others to county health departments, who will then immediately transmit the verified information to law enforcement. If that person holds a firearm license, law enforcement will immediately suspend the individual’s license for a period of at least six months. Law enforcement will also be empowered to confiscate that person’s firearms for the period of the suspension.
Additionally, there is a critical expansion in Kendra’s Law, a law mandating that the maximum treatment for individuals who have not sought treatment for mental illness and who are a threat to themselves or others, is increased from six months to 1 year. Kendra’s law is also extended from 2015 to 2017.
This comprehensive gun package seeks to protect New Yorkers from senseless gun violence while recognizing and protecting every citizen's Second Amendment right. Governor Cuomo is expected to sign this legislation into law later this afternoon.