State senators voted overwhelmingly, 43-18, to approve the NY SAFE Act of 2013, a package of gun control legislation that included State Senator Greg Ball’s pistol permit privacy bill, late Monday night. Ball was one of the nay votes.
The legislation was introduced by Ball after The Journal News Newspaper, a Gannett Company, recently posted a map on their website that unethically reveals homeowners with pistol permits in Westchester and Rockland Counties.
The NY SAFE package includes bans any magazine that holds more than seven rounds, tracks ammunition purchases in real time to permit alerts on high volume buyers, and checks on the buyer’s background.
Additionally, a statewide database will keep the registry current and guard against the dangerous or unstable possessing guns, according to the bill’s summary.
There are new rules that will close a loophole that excludes private sales of guns from a federal background check; tighten provisions governing gun ownership by persons with serious mental illness; require safe storage of guns for gun owners who live with someone who has been convicted of certain crimes, is under an order of protection, or who has been involuntarily committed as a result of a mental illness.
The bill also creates new and enhanced penalties for illegal gun use, and enhances protections for victims of domestic violence by requiring the firearm surrenders and gun license suspension and revocation in cases where an order of protection has been issued.
Ball claims that he voted against the NY SAFE Act because he felt the collective package was being rushed and lacked the public’s input.
“We needed solid provisions to keep the violently, mentally ill from harming our communities, our kids and our families. That didn’t happen tonight,” said Ball. While much in this bill, as far as stiffer penalties for real criminals and help on the mental health front is good, the last minute push, in the middle of the night without critical public input from sportsmen and taxpayers was outrageous and forced members to vote on a bill they had not read.”
While touting the victory of having his proposed legislation be part of the package, Ball voted against NY SAFE.
“I simply cannot support a bill that turns law abiding citizens into criminals by creating an entire new category of illegal firearms out of currently legal rifles and shotguns,” said Ball.
If the NY SAFE Act is voted into law, New York will be the first state in the nation to completely ban all pre-1994 high capacity magazines.
Other state senators from the region voted in favor of the legislation including Sen. Terry Gipson, Sen. George Latimer, and Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
“Tonight, the senators that voted for the NY SAFE Act of 2013 made a bold statement, coming together in a bipartisan, collaborative manner to meet the challenges that face our state and our nation, as we have seen far too many senseless acts of gun violence,” Said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “I commend Senator [Dean] Skelos, Senator [Jeffery] Klein, and Senator Stewart-Cousins for their hard work on this important legislation.”
The Assembly is expected to vote on the NY Safe Act on Tuesday morning. Speaker Sheldon Silver anticipates its passage.
Local state Assemblyman Steve Katz opposes the hastiness of the legislation.
He questioned, “Does anybody think responsible, well thought out legislation can be voted on without having time to read the bill?”
Referring to the governor as a “bully”, Katz suggests the legislation has more to do with political aspirations than public safety.
“The Governor has proven himself to be a crass bully intent on subverting the NY State and US Constitution for his own political aspirations,” said Katz. “The fervent haste, the ‘we have to do something now’ claim is nothing more than a misguided presidential calculation to be on record as the ‘first’ in the nation for nothing more than political posturing.
“The reality is not one person in our nation could care less whether Cuomo is first second or last in driving legislation designed to further limit the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens of our state and nation. If the legislation is so necessary and meaningful why are we doing it in the middle of the night without giving our citizens of the state an opportunity to review and discuss its merits in a free and transparent forum? Let the people speak? No. Do as the Governor commands.”