Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 15, 2013

Breaking down NY's gun control bill

ALBANY — Provisions in a sweeping gun control bill before the New York Legislature:

—Further restrict assault weapons to define them by a single feature, such as a pistol grip. Current law requires two features.

—Make the unsafe storage of assault weapons a misdemeanor.

—Mandate a police registry of assault weapons.

—Establish a state registry for all private sales, with a background check done through a licensed dealer for a fee, excluding sales to immediate relatives.

—Require a therapist who believes a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally to report the threat to a mental health director who would then have to report serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. A patient's gun could be taken from him or her.

—Ban the Internet sale of assault weapons.

—Require stores that sell ammunition to register with the state, run background checks on buyers of bullets and keep an electronic database of bullet sales.

—Restrict ammunition magazines to seven bullets, from the current national standard of 10. Current owners of higher-capacity magazines would have a year to sell them out of state. Someone caught with eight or more bullets in a magazine could face a misdemeanor charge.

—Require that stolen guns be reported within 24 hours. Otherwise, the owner would face a possible misdemeanor.

—Increase sentences for gun crimes including for taking a gun on school property.

—Increase penalties for shooting first responders, called the "Webster provision." Two firefighters were killed when shot by a person who set a fire in the western New York town of Webster last month. The crime would be punishable by life in prison without parole.

—Limit the state records law to protect handgun owners from being identified publicly. The provision would allow a handgun permit holder a means to maintain privacy under the Freedom of Information law.

—Require pistol permit holders or those who will be registered as owners of assault rifles to be recertified at least every five years to make sure they are still legally able to own the guns.

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