What You Need to Know About New York's Gun Law

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New York has become the first state to dramatically stiffen its gun laws after last month's mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

With Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature Tuesday, parts of the measure that sped through the Legislature in two days take effect immediately.

  • WNYC reporter Robert Lewis took a look at the 22,500-word bill. He says there are several controversial provisions. The Mental Health Association of New York State released a fairly critical statement saying that tying mental health to the gun control issue stigmatizes people with such illnesses. Also, the law allows gun licensees to opt out of having their names and addresses made public. A New York newspaper caused a stir last month when it published the names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in Rockland and Westchester county.

  • The co-author of the law, Bronx State Senator Jeffrey Klein, told WNYC that it will also require mental health professionals to report any patient they believe to be a threat to themselves and others: “We’re making New York a lot safer by leaving it up to mental health professionals on whether or not their client potentially poses a danger and whether or not that individual has a gun,” Klein said.

  • We also spoke with Bishop Willie Billips. He's known as the Gang Pastor for his work with the NYPD's Clergy Task Force, which provides support for victims of violent crime and often mediates between rival gangs.  He’s also done work mediating between rival gangs. He says he’s pleased the new law is taking a closer look at mental health issues. “That’s very, very important because these guns getting in the hands of people with different mental conditions as well as he number of bullets that are allowed to be in gun clips and things. We need to cut this off at the head and I think this a very good start,” Billips said.

  • But former New York Times reporter and editor and author of Living With Guns: A Liberal’s Case for the Second Amendment, Craig Whitney says gun control measures like the ones passed in Albany and like those set to be proposed by President Barack Obama are only part of the picture: “No gun control measure alone is going to rule out incidents like the shooting at Newtown or the routine gun violence we have in New York and other big cities,” Whitney said. “You need to deal with social issues, with the pathologies that produce gun violence.”

The new law also calls for background checks on ammunition, a ban on large magazines, stiffer penalties for gun crimes and background checks even on private sales, such as those at gun shows.

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Comments [8]

Unconstitutional from upstate

In my opinion, the new gun law is unconstitutional for many different reasons, not allowing private citizens to keep their own property they are just making law abiding citizens criminals. I will not be made a criminal nor will I allow my freedoms to be taken away. I am moving out of NYS as a result of this unconstitutional law. I have heard from a bunch of people that they will not buy a hunting or fishing license this year which could cost NYS millions in lost revenue. Also think about how the politicians did this so quickly, they didn't allow time for citizens input, they just rammed it through. Do you trust a politician? When is the last time a politician did anything to increase your freedom in this country?
Freedom is disappearing quickly unless you do something. Call your assemblyman, senator and governor.

Jan. 18 2013 12:36 PM

I was hoping to see either or both Albany/Obama would include Domestic Violence emergency calls or similar as automatic or Police authorized triggers to revoke gun licenses and remove firearms from the home. That was I think the surprise cultural change element of Australia's gun regulation after the Port Arthur murders.

Hopefully the federal 'research funds' will discover a similar mechanism for siphoning guns out of violent homes.

Police forces around Australia united in wanting to have a DV trigger included and that passed. In Australia at the time and I assume the same is true here now, more police officers died at the front door of a Domestic disturbance than anywhere else.

Making revocation effectively automatic on the initial emergency contact created a new cultural dynamic. The steady stream of guns out of violent homes has I believe been a great positive step. Politically it is hard for gun rights advocates to make a case for violent perpetrators to be allowed to retain gun ownership.

If you aren't a violent perpetrator then you can keep your license/gun.


Jan. 16 2013 08:06 PM
John doe from brooklyn

I am a gun owner (I have one shotgun for bird hunting). I have also been seeking counseling and seeing a psychiatrist for anxiety. this anxiety has caused some tension in my marriage. when I starting seeing the professionals, the counselor wanted to have my guns taken away. Why? I had never threatened anyone, i was not despondent, I have never said I want to hurt anyone. this counselor was an inner city liberal who probably has a bad idea of guns and wants all guns made illegal. I went back to my psychiatrist and told her that the counselor felt I should give up my guns and asked her, that if she (the counselor) reported me to the authorities, would she vouch for me and stand for me if I had to make a case to the authorities. She told me "you suffer from anxiety, you are not dangerous, you may have a temper but you know right from wrong and wold not hurt anyone - they cannot take your guns. I am very much afraid that we will now have all sorts of liberal leaning inner city head up their Ass do gooders running around trying to get every gun off the street just because it is not a sport they partake in. FYI: At the time I was going through this with that counselor, I was very sorry that I ever went to her and if I thought someone was going to take my guns for mere anxiety, I might never have gone to the therapist.

Jan. 16 2013 11:23 AM
Axel from NYC

Will members of law enforcement have their guns confiscated if they have mental health or domestic violence issues?

Jan. 16 2013 10:45 AM
blossomcat from Manhattan

Shari, why do you call rural New York 'The real New York"? 40% of state residents live in NYC. According to Wikipedia, 92% of state residents live in an urban area. And no matter how isolated they are "sportsmen" do not need assault rifles or large-capacity magazines to shoot a deer or protect their families.

Jan. 16 2013 10:35 AM
shari from The real New York

Methinks there is a storm coming. Sure there are shooting crimes every day in the bigger cities but to criminalize law abiding sportsmen and people who try to protect their families will not go over well. Here in rural New York State, the real New York, law enforcement can't get from the donut shop to the scene of a crime until the crime is history. If we don't protect ourselves, we will probably die waiting for the authorities. I think Prince Andrew Cuomo has poked the bear and I hope it will soon turn around to bite him.

Jan. 16 2013 08:45 AM
concerned from Rochester

When does this law legally take affect?

Jan. 15 2013 08:06 PM
Ben from Westchester

Listening to NPR you wouldn't know that NYs new gun law passed both the Assembly and Senate by overwhelming bipartisan margins. You'd instead get the impression that it was rammed through over principled objections.

I realize that I am discussing NPR here on a WNYC board, and not WNYC, but I remind you that WNYC keeps telling me they need my money to pay for ATC/NPR and I keep paying. And Amy Ettings' locally produced "intro" to the 7pm news also focused on the objections to the bill, not the overwhelming statewide sentiment that we need change. Why why why?

Why does NPR try so hard to sound "bipartisan" at the risk of clouding its actual news value? Distressing.

Jan. 15 2013 07:03 PM

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