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New York Passes Landmark Gun Law 1591

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'm-sure-nobody-at-all-will-complain-about-this-ever dept.
New submitter mallyn points out that the state of New York has become the first state to pass a new gun control law since the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary last month. "Called the New York Safe Act, the law includes a tougher assault weapons ban that broadens the definition of what constitutes an assault weapon, and limits the capacity of magazines to seven bullets, down from 10. The law also requires background checks of ammunition and gun buyers, even in private sales, imposes tougher penalties for illegal gun use, a one-state check on all firearms purchases, and programs to cut gun violence in high-crime neighborhoods. ... New York's law also aims to keep guns out of the hands of those will mental illness. The law gives judges the power to require those who pose a threat to themselves or others get outpatient care. The law also requires that when a mental health professional determines a gun owner is likely to do harm, the risk must be reported and the gun removed by law enforcement." Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is expected to propose a new federal assault weapons ban later today.
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New York Passes Landmark Gun Law

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:16AM (#42602013)

    No criminal will dare violate the law now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You've convinced me! We should probably take laws against murder, and assault, and theft off the books, because criminals will break the law. We should strike every law that could potentially be broken. What's the point of having laws at all. Just have everyone shoot it out with each other. Isn't that the NRA's dream?

  • a month later ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:17AM (#42602033)

    Given the speed of beauracracy, I'm absolutely sure this is a well thought out piece of legislation, which balances freedom with security. Fortunately, mental health professionals are the appropriate people in our judicial system to deny personal liberties, and that stigmatizing gun owners will help bring together a society that is being split on ideological lines.

  • Chicken or Egg? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by emmjayell (780191) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:21AM (#42602055)

    Since this is slashdot - let's talk about the new tech systems:

    So will mental health professionals be required to do a check against gun owner databases? Will a mental illness database need to be created so that potential gun buyers can be screened at purchase time? How about house-holding - if someone in the same residence is a registered gun owner, will they be forced to surrender their weapons?

    • Re:Chicken or Egg? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hsmith (818216) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:33AM (#42602187)
      Lets say, you like firearms. But, lets say you are going through some troubling times personally and need to see a therapist.

      We've seen the same thing in the military, people are afraid to ask for help, because they will be branded as having mental health problems and no longer be allowed to serve.

      So, will the problem be made worse now?

      Personally, I know this isn't a gun problem, it is a mental health problem. Mentally health people don't go mow down other human beings - only those with severe mental deficiencies do.
    • Re:Chicken or Egg? (Score:5, Informative)

      by RPI Geek (640282) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:37AM (#42602225) Journal

      How about house-holding - if someone in the same residence is a registered gun owner, will they be forced to surrender their weapons?

      From the bill [nysenate.gov]:

      Safe Storage

      To prevent, among other things, unauthorized and unlicensed use of guns, section 47 of the bill adds a new Penal Law 265.45 establishing safe storage requirements for rifles, shotguns and firearms. Under this new section, a gun owner who lives with someone who the owner has reason to know is prohibited from possessing a gun because the prohibited person has been convicted of a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year, has been adjudicated mentally defective or committed to a mental institution, is subject to a court order of protection or has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence whose sentence has been completed in the last five years must, when the gun is out of the owner's immediate control, keep the gun secured in a safe storage depository (for example, a safe or similar secure container with a lock that can be opened only with a key or combination, or other locking mechanism) or render it incapable of being fired by putting a safety lock on the gun.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:22AM (#42602059)

    So, let me start this out by saying that I'm a damn sight from being a Republican, much less a gun nut. And yes, there are gun nuts - we all know the type.

    Having said that, I love how NY (and for that matter, everywhere else) doesn't give a hoot in hell whether or not any actual evidence backs them up when laws like this get passed, much less track the results of what they have passed. It's a platitude, but true: criminals and other assholes could give a toss less whether or not they are breaking gun laws when they shoot someone. Regular folks are the ones who care about the law and mostly try to follow it, out of fear if nothing else.

    And yes, the second amendment doesn't mean a turkey in every pot and a Bofors anti-aircraft gun in every garage, but god damn - every time the government tries to take away something that anyone used to have I need to ask myself, "Do I trust the government?", the answer to which is almost always NO. I'd rather have a hillbilly with a M-16 and the stars and bars hanging in a window living next to me than have The Man start confiscating guns "for our own good", that's for sure.

  • by heypete (60671) <pete@heypete.com> on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:22AM (#42602063) Homepage

    The law does contain a lot of really beneficial improvements that may well improve things, but the "one-feature" test for so-called "assault weapons" will apply to a rather large number of common sporting and competition guns, requires that they be registered within the year, and once registered these now-banned guns cannot be sold or transferred to another New Yorker -- they can only be transferred to a licensed gun dealer or to an out of state buyer -- even if the registered owner dies.

    Not even legally-transferrable machine guns, what few there are, are so strictly regulated.

    De-grandfathering pre-ban magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds is asinine (are people supposed to turn them in?), as is banning any newly-produced magazines with a capacity greater than 7 rounds. (You can keep your current 10-round magazines but you can't load more than 7 rounds into them.)

    They could have kept such absurd provisions out of the law and people probably would think that it's a reasonable, if somewhat restrictive, law that may do some good stuff...but those extra provisions go way too far.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:24AM (#42602089)
    Of the ~750 murders with firearms a year in NY, 5 were with rifles of any kind... So, banning "assault rifles" is nothing other than a feel good measure to make idiots feel like they accomplished something.

    All of this is nothing more than a circle jerk. They don't care about preventing real violence. Like bureaucrats, they want to pretend they are solving the problem but are actually doing nothing.
    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:35AM (#42602213) Homepage

      How about the background check requirements? Do you think those accomplish anything, or not? The reason I ask is that in recent polling, a majority of gun owners support increased use of background checks to allow law-abiding and sane citizens to obtain guns more easily than criminals or insane people. It's obviously far from perfect, but there's a chance it would help reduce the body count.

      Also, how about the smaller magazine requirements? Do those do anything to reduce the number of murders (the idea being reduce the number of shots fired before a shooter has to reload or switch weapons)?

      • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @10:09AM (#42603427) Homepage Journal

        How about the background check requirements? Do you think those accomplish anything, or not? The reason I ask is that in recent polling, a majority of gun owners support increased use of background checks to allow law-abiding and sane citizens to obtain guns more easily than criminals or insane people.

        This position ignores the other effect of restrictions on the mentally ill... it discourages people from seeking help when they need it. This is already a huge problem in the United States, because of the stigma associated with mental illness, and more restrictions and especially mandatory reporting requirements -- because the info will be used for other purposes as well -- will exacerbate the problem. We need to provide greater access to treatment, not discourage people from seeking it.

        We've already seen many cases of veterans avoiding treatment because the VA started reporting PTSD and other mental illnesses to the states for background check disqualification. So much so that the VA is reconsidering that policy, in spite of the military's large concerns about the potential for bad PR which could land on them if they "knew" a given soldier was dangerous and didn't act.

        Also, how about the smaller magazine requirements? Do those do anything to reduce the number of murders (the idea being reduce the number of shots fired before a shooter has to reload or switch weapons)?

        I see no statistical evidence that it will change anything. If you compare the outcomes of mass shootings performed by weapons with large vs small magazines there's no evidence that restricting magazine size will change the outcomes. Shooters with smaller magazines carry more of them (and reloading is a very fast operation, especially with a little practice), or carry more guns -- and changing guns takes virtually no time at all. In fact, the practice of grabbing another gun when your current gun is empty is often called a "New York reload".

        So, no, as with most gun control legislation, this will inconvenience the law-abiding without significantly impacting mass shooting violence. And it will have no effect whatsoever on other gun crime, except to create a bunch of criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens who will refuse to give up their now-banned guns.

    • by MMC Monster (602931) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @09:56AM (#42603235)

      At least this is action that is in the right direction.

      Why do we have to respond to acts already occurred in the state? Should we wait for a mass shooting with an assault rifle in New York before a ban on them?

      I can understand going into the problems of the bill, and ways to fix the problems. But saying we shouldn't ban assault weapons because they haven't caused any deaths in the state as of yet isn't a good reason.

      After all, no Sarin gas deaths in New York (to the best of my knowledge). Should that be legal for private citizens' use?

  • Ban Walmart (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dissy (172727) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:26AM (#42602099)

    This shows that everyone against the Walmart can easily have the store chain banned.
    They sell everything needed for mass destruction, and guns aren't even needed!

    Gasoline, Vaseline jelly, and Tupperware = napalm

    Plastic jar, nails and screws, fertilizer, newspaper, and matches = shrapnel bomb

    Bleach and ammonia = mustard gas

    Any one of these (let alone all of them together) would bring as much destruction, pain, and misery as a gun.
    With this, our government has shown it cares not about the actual cause of the destruction, only the device that caused it and the people/places that sell it.

    Time to pressure them to ban the Walmart and arrest anyone who shops there!

    • Re:Ban Walmart (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:49AM (#42602373) Homepage

      You're right, anyone could build what they need to spread murder and mayhem.

      Here's my counterargument: Why don't they then? I mean, we supposedly have a bunch of terrorists in our midst, we have drug dealers and pimps all trying to carve out territory, and we have just plain crazy people who would love to blow things up or dose everyone with mustard gas. Surely, some of them would be enterprising enough to build and use these weapons on a regular basis. But in fact, napalm attacks don't happen.

      Some reasons I can think of:
      - It's hard to make those kinds of things just on the spur of the moment. Someone who's trying to make a shrapnel bomb has to carefully plan ahead, think things through, etc. By contrast, many shootings are where somebody's snapped and not really capable of doing that kind of planning.

      - There's significant risk of screwing up when building such weapons and injuring / killing yourself. Most mass murderers aren't the sort of people that have learned how to properly handle explosives or chemical munitions. Even bad guys who have reason to know what they're doing have problems - there are cases of terrorists having their bomb blow up as they're driving to the Israeli border, for example.

      - These weapons are all less portable and concealable than,say, a 9mm.

      - Building these weapons takes considerably more brains than firing a gun. I grant you, the brains required are something along the lines of "Google it and follow the instructions", but there are a lot of people who can't handle that but can handle "point gun at target, squeeze trigger".

    • Re:Ban Walmart (Score:5, Informative)

      by Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @09:10AM (#42602695) Homepage
      Bleach and ammonia = mustard gas
      Sorry to be pedantic(not really, this is /.), but mustard gas is C4H8Cl2S. Where's the sulfur in bleach(NaClO) or Ammonia(NH4OH), hint there isn't any. Hell, you don't even have any carbons either, so no, you cannot make a "mustard" gas out of bleach and ammonia(you'll make some nasty chlorinated ammonia compounds, but not mustard). Still it is a bad idea to mix the two, so don't.
  • by Xenious (24845) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:28AM (#42602133)

    So when it is determined that a gun owner needs to be relieved of their firearm by law enforcement (because they are no longer defined as able to own it) is the state going to re-imburse the owner the value of the gun? Would the funds come from some fund from gun sales tax? Are they temporarily taking it with the intention of returning it when able? Where will they be safely stored?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @09:00AM (#42602537)

      The Government will confiscate the gun.
      The Government will not return the gun.
      The Government will not re-imburse the owner for the cost or value of the gun.
      From news reports, the gun is generally "lost".
      Just ask the gun-owners who have used their guns to defend themselves against criminals. The Government takes their guns "as evidence" and rarely, if ever, returns them. Even if the gun-owner sues, the Government declares the guns missing, destroyed, or needed for future use. I live in Tennessee, a carry permit state, and instructors of gun course routinely tell students that they should expect to lose their guns if ever confiscated and to act accordingly. There have been news stories and they all bear this recommendation out.
      A serving, military person was jailed when the state he was driving through to get to his next military, duty station. (The guns were safely and appropriately locked in the trunk of his car.) His guns were confiscated. When he was released, the Government officials would not return his guns. He sued and it took over a year to retrieve some of his guns. His guns were legal in the state of his previous duty station and in the state of his new duty station but were not in the state he was driving through.

      As with Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Communist China, etc., once a gun is confiscated, it is never returned and the cost or value of the gun is never given. The real kicker is that confiscated guns have ended up in the hands of criminals (passing through the Government's "law enforcement") and used in the commission of crimes--imagine the chagrin of being notified that your gun was used to threaten, rob, destroy or kill after the Government took it from you.

  • Militia (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @08:41AM (#42602261) Homepage

    I do not understand how any of these reduced clip laws, or assault rifle bans, get passed when it is supposed to be legal to operate and join a militia and to have the ability to fight your own government if they turn tyrannical enough.

  • Wrong title (Score:4, Insightful)

    by johnlcallaway (165670) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @01:20PM (#42606411)
    Should be 'New York Passes Useless Gun Control Law', since nothing in the law will make any positive difference in crime rates, and will only impact legal gun holders. My prediction is that like Chicago, New York will continue down the path of passing more and more restrictive gun control laws, which make it easier for criminals to commit more crimes and serve only to continue to drive their violent crime rates even higher above the national average. Meanwhile, I live in a community of over 600,000 people in a state with very few gun control laws (Arizona) that has a violent crime rate almost have the national average. Where I can open carry into a bank (and have) and no one runs out in fear, the tellers smile, say high, and take my deposit as if nothing was wrong.

    Because nothing was wrong.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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