The SAFE Act, which was approved by the New York State Senate yesterday, has now passed the NY Assembly as well. Fueled by concern over the Sandy Hook tragedy which occurred just one month ago, the State Legislature has crafted some of the toughest gun laws in the Union.
Under the SAFE Act any sale of assault weapons will be subject to a background check, with the exception of transactions made between immediate family members. Internet sales of assault weapons are now illegal in the State.
The restriction on magazine capacity, which previously stood at 10, has now been reduced to 7 bullets. Possession of a magazine with more than 7 bullets in it will be considered a misdemeanor; however, gun owners have a 1 year grace period to sell any such magazines they may already own out of state.
Mental health professionals now must report when they believe a patient may be a threat to himself or others. Police have been given the ability to confiscate guns from any such potentially dangerous person.
If a gun owner discovers his weapon has been stolen, it is now required that a report be made within 24 hours.
Perhaps most significantly, police will be creating a registry for assault weapons to which current owners of such guns must enroll. The law also changes the definition of assault weapons from any gun with two “military rifle” features (such as muzzle flash suppressors or folding stocks) to any gun with even a single military rifle feature. The unsafe storage of such guns is now a misdemeanor.
Governor Cuomo, who pushed strongly for the SAFE Act and is expected to sign it shortly, has called assault weapons “a scourge on our society” and lauded the lawmakers who voted to pass this act for “coming together in a bipartisan, collaborative manner to meet the challenges that face our state and our nation, as we have seen far too many senseless acts of gun violence.”
While the new legislation does make several profound changes to gun laws in New York State, it will not result in the confiscation of any guns (with the possible future exception of mentally unstable individuals) as has been previously discussed.