Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced historic steps to curtail gun violence and introduced a comprehensive bill. The bill, which bans assault weapons, among other big steps, easily passed New York’s Senate, and is expected to pass the Assembly as soon as today. In addition to the assault weapons ban, Cuomo’s major gun reform bill makes New York the first state to:
- Completely ban all high-capacity gun magazines manufactured prior to the federal assault weapons ban of 1994. The bill also redefines assault weapons to include (and therefore ban) more guns, including the Bushmaster used in the Newtown, CT shooting at Sandyhook Elementary.
- Ban any magazine that can hold over 7 rounds (down from 10)
- Conduct real time background checks on ammunition purchases to alert law enforcement of high-volume buyers.
That none of that has been done before in any state shows the historic power of the gun lobby. There is one more major provision in Cuomo's gun law that will turn a few heads: New York’s gun reform legislation also requires mental health professionals to alert authorities if a patient seems intent on doing serious harm to themselves or others. Law enforcement will then check the patient’s name against a new, comprehensive gun registration database. If the patient owns a gun, their license will be suspended and law enforcement will come and take their gun away.
Yes, the howls of the conspiracy theorists are finally coming true: the government is taking away guns. Granted, only if you are a mental patient deemed seriously dangerous by a doctor, but still, the internet will have a field day with that one. In reality, it's only bad news for two groups: dangerous, gun-owning mental health patients and the officers who have to go to their homes and take away their guns.