New York today became the first state to pass new gun laws since the Newtown massacre, as Obama geared up to use executive orders to protect Americans against gun violence.
It took five hours of debate, but the New York State Assembly voted 104 to 43 in favor of expanded controls on assault weapons, The New York Times reported.
“We believe that it’s up to us to lead the way,” Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol, who sponsored the bill, told The Times. “I for one don’t want to wait for a tragedy like Newtown before we take some action to prevent it.”
New York's Republican-controlled Senate voted 43 to 18 to approve the package Monday night, the one-month anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting which left 28 people dead, including 20 children, UPI reported.
Called the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, critics said it moved too quickly through the State Assembly without enough consultation.
The act passed on just the second day of work this year in the State Assembly.
Others suggested it will do nothing to remove guns from streets, and will present the illusion of safety.
"You are using innocent children killed by a mad man for own political agenda," Republican Assemblyman James Tedisco said, according to The Associated Press. "You are actually making people less safe."
Governor Andrew Cuomo had a different opinion.
“I believe it’s the most comprehensive response to this crisis,” he said, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. “New Yorkers can feel their government is responsive and this state is safer.”
The new laws further refine New York's assault weapons ban, reducing the size of legal magazines from 10 to seven bullets. It also puts in place more thorough background checks and streamlines a law that facilitates the confinement of mentally ill people who may pose a threat to themselves or others, according to the Washington Times.
New York's laws come as President Obama prepares to use executive orders to reform federal gun control, the New York Times reported.
On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden said Obama has “presented me now with a list of sensible, common-sense steps that can be taken to make sure that the kinds of violence we saw at Newtown doesn’t happen again," adding that “My starting point is not to worry about the politics. My starting point is to focus on what makes sense, what works," the Times reported.
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