Democrat-controlled NY Legislature to tighten gun control

At least eight gun control measures are expected to pass in the Empire State, tightening the grip on New York’s already strict guns laws. Some legislation would ban teachers and other school employees from carrying the weapons on campus.

Hans Pennink/AP
Members of the New York Senate vote for the Child Victims Act in the Senate Chamber at the state Capitol on Jan. 28, 2019, in Albany, N.Y. Democrats, who control both the Senate and Assembly, are expected to pass stricter gun control measures this session.

The Democrat-controlled New York Legislature is set Tuesday to pass several bills aimed at making the state's already tough gun laws even stricter.

At least eight measures are expected to pass the Assembly and Senate, including legislation to prohibit schools from allowing teachers and other school employees to carry guns in schools.

Lawmakers passed Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act in early 2013, when Republicans controlled the Senate. The tougher gun laws known as the SAFE ACT passed just weeks after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

With Democrats now in control of the Senate as well as the Assembly, another round of gun-control legislation is expected to easily pass in Albany.

"We are taking action that will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, ensure safe storage of guns, keep our schools safer and give law enforcement the proper tools to help stop this growing gun crime epidemic," said Senate majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Yonkers Democrat.

Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association and a National Rifle Association board member, called the measures "disingenuous" and said they would only hurt people who adhere to current firearms laws.

"It's a violation of their Second Amendment rights and these are lawful gun owners who are not committing the crimes," Mr. King said.

The Democrats' measures would make it illegal to sell or manufacture bump stocks, devises that can increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic weapons. Such a device was used by the gunman who opened fire from a Las Vegas hotel room in 2017, killing 58 people at a country music concert and wounding hundreds of others.

Another bill would prohibit anyone other than a law enforcement officer, school resource officer or other security personnel from carrying a firearm while on school property. Under current state law, districts can decide whether to allow teachers and other school employees to carry guns in school.

There's also legislation that would authorize parents, teachers and school administrators to ask a judge to evaluate a child they believe is a threat to themselves or others. The judge could then order the confiscation of firearms in the child's home. That measure is known in Albany as a "red flag" bill.

Mr. Cuomo supports the measures, and has proposed extending the background check waiting period for firearm purchases from three days to 10 days.

"Some states have 30 days, which is appealing to me," he said on WAMC radio on Monday.

This story was reported by The Associated Press. 

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