Seante Majority Leader Harry Reid says a federal assault weapons ban is (probably) doomed, because there’s no way it’ll pass in the House. I suppose that’s true. I mean, what’s a measly 20 or so six year old kids compared to the profits on selling high powered firearms with high-capacity magazines? We can always make more kids, but money? That’s a precious commodity.
In New York, however, things are different. It’s not often I get to feel proud of our incredibly dysfunctional government here in NY (gay marriage being about the only other time I can recall in recent history), but the Republican (sorta – it’s a long story) controlled NY State Senate overwhelmingly (43-18) approved a set of gun control laws that are said to be the toughest in the country. Since the NY State Assembly is run by Democrats, and since Andy Cuomo wants to run for preznit in 2016, final passage is a done deal.
The bill is designed “to basically eradicate assault weapons from our streets in New York as quickly as possible is something the people of this state want and it’s an important thing to do. It is an emergency,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told WCBS-TV. “We are going to ban assault weapons. We are going to eliminate all of the loopholes that existed previously.”
Under current state law, assault weapons are defined by having two “military rifle” features spelled out in the law. The proposal would reduce that to one feature and include the popular pistol grip.
Private sales of assault weapons to someone other than an immediate family member would be subject to a background check through a dealer. Also, Internet sales of assault weapons would be banned, and failing to safely store a weapon could be subject to a misdemeanor charge.
Ammunition magazines would be restricted to seven bullets, from the current 10, and current owners of higher-capacity magazines would have a year to sell them out of state. An owner caught at home with eight or more bullets in a magazine could face a misdemeanor charge.
In another provision, a therapist who believes a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally would be required to report the incident to a mental health director who would have to report serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. A patient’s gun could be taken from him or her.
The legislation also increases sentences for gun crimes, including the shooting of a first responder that Cuomo called the “Webster provision.” Last month in the western New York town of Webster, two firefighters were killed after responding to a fire set by the shooter, who eventually killed himself./em>
I don’t know how much good this will do. If you can still buy whatever weapons you want in PA or OH or wherever, it isn’t all that hard to bring them into NY. But hopefully it will help some, and it’s always nice when NY can actually be the first at something (we’re still trying to live down the shame from abstaining from the vote to declare independence from the British).
Of course the really big news is that Lance Armstrong “confessed” to Oprah about his doping. I’m not sure why I’m supposed to care about this, but I’ll try.
But not right now, ‘cuz I’ve got to get back to work.