New York passes 'toughest' gun law in the US
By Sebastian Smith, AFPNEW YORK -- New York on Tuesday passed what supporters called the toughest gun ownership law in the country, becoming the first U.S. state to impose new restrictions in the wake of last month's elementary school massacre in Connecticut.
January 17, 2013, 11:42 am TWN
Lawmakers in the lower house of the State Assembly voted 104-43 in favor of the measure, which had been approved by the upper house in a 43-18 vote late Monday.
Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, who rushed through the legislation, welcomed the assembly's overwhelming support, saying “we are fighting back.”
“I am proud to be a New Yorker today,” Cuomo said as he signed the law. “Not just because New York has the first bill, but because New York has the best bill.”
The measures, which include a full ban on sales of military-style rifles, were linked directly to the national horror at the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 6- and 7-year-olds and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Those killings sparked a major national debate over the need for curbing America's liberal gun laws. President Barack Obama said Tuesday he would unveil his own proposals on Wednesday.
New York's rapid action on the opening days of its new session grabbed national attention and ramped up momentum for supporters of sweeping new restrictions, particularly on assault rifles — the kind of weapon the Newtown killer used.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a prominent critic of lax gun rules, said the New York vote proved “that it's possible to act quickly — and in a bipartisan fashion — to enact gun laws that will make our communities safer.”
However, the biggest gun owners' group, the National Rifle Association (NRA), said it was “outraged at the draconian gun control bill.”