Cuomo Signs Sweeping Gun Control Law (Update: Mental Health Experts Already Sour on New Law)
Panic legislating is what ought to be banned. Then again, it's only some in the media and among the public who are truly panicked. The politicians moved with such speed on these measures that it's obviously been part of a plan, just waiting for the proper crisis.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law on Tuesday a sweeping package of gun control measures, significantly expanding a ban on assault weapons and making New York the first state to change its laws in response to the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
Mr. Cuomo signed the bill less than an hour after the State Assembly approved the legislation on a 104-to-43 vote. The State Senate approved the measure, 43 to 18, on Monday night.
The expanded ban on assault weapons would broaden the definition of such weapons, banning semiautomatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines and one military-style feature, as well as semiautomatic shotguns with one military-style feature. New Yorkers who already own such guns could keep them but would be required to register them with the state.
The legislative package, which Mr. Cuomo on Monday said he believed would be "the most comprehensive package in the nation," would also ban any gun magazine that can hold more than 7 rounds of ammunition - the current limit is 10 rounds. It would also require background checks of ammunition buyers and automated alerts to law enforcement agencies of high-volume purchases.
The National Rifle Association issued a statement denouncing the measure, saying, "These gun control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime."
"The legislature caved to the political demands of a governor and helped fuel his personal political aspirations," the organization said. "New York lawmakers have ignored and excluded gun owners throughout this legislative process, but the N.R.A. and our New York members remain committed to having a meaningful conversation about protecting our children and will speak frankly about the lawmakers who have failed to do so."
But Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a vocal advocate of gun control, hailed the legislation, saying it "protects the Second Amendment rights of people, and at the same time it makes all New Yorkers safer."
Criminals won't cross state lines to avoid the new ammunition background checks? Criminals won't get larger magazines from out-of-state? Unless the new laws crack down on criminals, no one has been made any safer. Any suggestion that they have is a lie.
Not all parts of the new law are bad, but we shouldn't kid ourselves that they would have stopped the murder of two firefighters in Webster, NY last year.
The legislation would increase penalties for multiple crimes committed with guns, would require background checks for most private gun sales and would create a statewide gun-registration database. It also includes a so-called Webster provision, named for the shooting deaths of two firefighters who were ambushed in Webster, near Rochester, just before Christmas. The provision would mandate a life sentence without parole for anyone who murders a first responder.
The killer was a career felon who had murdered his grandmother with a hammer. He served 17 years for that, but was eventually paroled while not ever being reformed. He either used a straw purchaser or he stole the firearms he used to kill the firefighters -- criminal acts, either way. A life sentence for killing the firefighters would have done no good, as he never had any intention of surviving his killing spree. He should have been locked away for life, or given the death penalty, for his first murder. Because he wasn't, he was free to kill again and now New York is punishing its law-abiding citizens for its own failure.
The worst part of this story:
The guns package was negotiated privately by the governor and legislative leaders over the last several weeks, but was completed only late Monday; rank-and-file senators had only a few minutes to read the bill before voting on it.
That's a disgrace. It's a subversion of democracy.
Update: Any idiot could've seen this coming.
Dr. Paul Appelbaum at Columbia University said the prospect of being reported to local mental health authorities and maybe the police might discourage people from revealing thoughts of harm to a therapist, or even from seeking treatment at all.
"The people who arguably most need to be in treatment and most need to feel free to talk about these disturbing impulses, may be the ones we make least likely to do so," said the director of law, ethics and psychiatry at Columbia. "They will either simply not come, or not report the thoughts that they have."
"If people with suicidal or homicidal impulses avoid treatment for fear of being reported in this way, they may be more likely to act on those impulses," he said.
Cuomo and his posse are a special kind of idiot.