NY Legislature Bans Bump Stocks, Passes Gun Control Bill

NY Legislature Bans Bump Stocks, Passes Gun Control Bill

On Jan. 30, state lawmakers approved the first new gun control laws since the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act passed in 2013.

Gun control advocates cheered the further tightening of New York’s laws, which address bump stocks and recent pushes to arm teachers. Opponents, including local sport shooters and the National Rifle Association, were less impressed.

The new laws, which passed mostly along party lines, target guns in the classroom, people or students who have guns in the home and may be mentally unstable, bump stocks and background checks (see box).

Many of the bills had long been goals of Democrats, but had been blocked from a vote by the Republican majority in the Senate. After winning control of both houses in November, Democrats were eager to get the bills to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign them.

Sen. John Brooks, a Seaford Democrat, had pushed to prohibit school districts from arming teachers and a “red flag law” to keep guns out of the hands of students who might be unstable. After Republicans voted down several Democratic measures last spring, Brooks told the Herald that the Republicans’ gun-related bills were toothless. “We have to have smart gun control,” he said.

After the new laws easily passed both houses, Brooks said, “These laws we pass today help to protect our basic freedoms — freedom from fear and freedom from violence.”

Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Long Beach Democrat, introduced the bill to keep school districts from arming teachers. State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia issued a memorandum last September banning public schools from using federal money for that purpose as well, after media reports that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was weighing the benefits. DeVos later said that she had not intended to act.

 

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