New York Governor Signs Nation’s First Gun Control Laws Since Sandy Hook

Image via Gov. Cuomo's Office

Just 32 days after the tragic shooting massacre at Newton, Conn.’s Sandy Hook Elementary, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that increased the state’s already relatively strict gun-control laws as well as new mental health regulations. Cuomo—a gun owner himself—called the package a “common sense” measure.

You can overpower extremists with intelligence and common sense,” he said.

The laws—passed by New York’s GOP-controlled Senate as well as its Democrat-led House—tighten the state’s existing assault weapons ban, background checks for those who purchase firearms privately, add a statewide gun registry and uniform licensing standard and restrict the purchase of ammunition magazines to seven bullets rather than 10.

Cuomo told reporters that speed was of the essence when it came to passing the bill, in order to prevent a rush on gun sales.

There has been all sorts of reports that even the contemplation of this law caused an increase in (gun) sales,” he said. “That would have been the exact opposite of what we were trying to achieve.”

The new legislation also tightens rules governing the mentally ill, including a requirement that potentially harmful behavior be reported. Kendra’s Law—passed in 1999—will be extended through 2017. The law already gave New York judges the authority to require residents undergo psychiatric treatment under certain circumstances, but the outpatient treatment time has now been expanded from six months to one year and requires additional reviews before treatment is allowed to expire.

Likewise, New York’s mental health professionals will be governed by a new set of rules that will require them to report their patients if they exhibit behavior that suggests they might be harmful to themselves or others.