On Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a package for gun-control measures that expands a ban on assault weapons and that makes New York the first state in the country to change its gun laws since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December, according to The New York Times.
The bill was signed by Cuomo just one hour after the State Assembly approved it by a vote of 104-43 on the second full day of the 2013 legislative session. The measure was approved by a vote of 43-18 by the State Senate.
“I am proud to be part of this government, not just because New York has the first bill, but because New York has the best bill,” the governor, a Democrat, said at a news conference. “I’m proud to be a New Yorker because New York is doing something — because we are fighting back.”
The new laws reduce the size of gun magazines allowed by law from 10 rounds to seven rounds. The new legislation also includes laws that will better keep firearms from those who are mentally ill and imposes stricter penalties for people who use guns when committing a crime.
The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association said that gun owners in the state “should be ashamed and afraid of our state.” The National Rifle Association said, “These gun-control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime.”
“The Legislature caved to the political demands of a governor and helped fuel his personal political aspirations,” the N.R.A. said.
The mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, said the legislation “protects the Second Amendment rights of people, and at the same time it makes all New Yorkers safer.”
“We have some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and this just strengthens them,” Bloomberg said.
Steve Katz, an Assemblyman, asked, “Why are we being bullied into voting on this bill without our proper, responsible due diligence? Solely due to the governor’s misguided, egotistic notion that this will advance his presidential aspirations.”
The legislation was welcomed with open arms from Democrats in the Assembly, who had been pushing for better gun-control laws for years.
“It’s taken far too many deaths to get us to this point,” said Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti, a Democrat from Westchester County. “The Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to bear arms to kill innocent firefighters, teachers and children, and that’s the message we have to send.”