ALBANY (CBSNewYork) — The New York State Legislature was poised Tuesday to pass the first gun control measure following the Newtown school massacre. This as the vice president was set to unveil federal proposals to end gun violence later in the day.
Albany lawmakers ironed out the kinks Monday, allowing them to propose in writing new gun control measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. Assuming the new bill passes — it was approved by the Senate late Monday night and will go before the House on Tuesday — it will turn into the toughest set of gun control laws in the country.
“The people of this state are crying out for help on gun violence. We don’t need another tragedy,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday night. “I think this is one of the greatest problems facing our state. If this proposal is enacted it is one of the most comprehensive approaches to the problem.”
Sources told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer the deal worked out by the Legislature is wide ranging, but it starts with assault weapons.
“To basically eradicate assault weapons from our streets in New York as quickly as possible is something the people of this state want and it’s an important thing to do. It is an emergency,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told CBS 2’s Kramer.
“We are going to ban assault weapons. We are going to eliminate all of the loopholes that existed previously,” Silver added.
The new state legislation will:
* Limit ammunition clips to seven. It’s now 10
* Force gun owners to renew their licenses every five years
* Stiffen penalties for using a gun in the commission of a crime
* Stiffen penalties for bringing a gun on school property
* New restrictions on the assault weapons already owned by New Yorkers
“They will be basically not permitted to be transferred. They will be grandfathered in but not in terms of a transfer. There will be a registry,” Silver said.
“It’s not about people who use a shotgun to hunt. It’s about high-capacity magazines, and that’s what the bill addresses,” Gov. Cuomo said.
The state agreement came a day before Vice President Joe Biden was set to give his gun control recommendations to President Barack Obama. With the gun lobby at a fevered pitch, Obama said there will be some things he can do without congressional approval.
“I’m confident that there are some steps that we can take that don’t require legislation,” the president said Monday.
One of those steps, also sought by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, would have the president order the Justice Department to prosecute criminals who provide false information to buy a gun.
The mayor said that in 2010 there were 76,000 cases referred by the FBI to the Justice Department. Only 44 were prosecuted.
“This is a joke. It’s a sad joke, and it’s a lethal joke,” Bloomberg said.
It’s not clear whether the president will spend his political capital on seeking to re-impose the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. The gun lobby has vowed to defeat it in congress. And prominent Republicans, like Sen. John McCain, are opposed.
Do you think these new regulations go far enough? Or do you think they never should be enacted in the first place? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …