A New York State Senator has lambasted the passing of what is being called the nation’s toughest gun control bill, saying that it was introduced during the middle of the night, and that members were forced to vote on the legislation when they had not even had a chance to read it.
“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 Senator Greg Ball in a statement.
“…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.” Ball noted.
The Senator stated that he believed the bill does nothing to address the issue of mental illness, and gave specific examples of cases within his district, which he urged that the legislation would not help to improve in any way.
“We haven’t saved any lives tonight, except one: the political life of a governor who wants to be president,” the Senator said on the Senate floor, in reference to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Ball added that he believed the NY Senate was willing to transform law-abiding citizens into criminals “hoping on the front pages that we will be seen as preventing tragedies.”
“Good night, I voted no and I only wish I could have done it twice.” Ball concluded.
Watch Ball’s comments below:
Senator John J. Bonacic, who also opposed the legislation, called it “nothing more than window dressing designed to make people feel secure until the next tragedy strikes – all while criminalizing the actions of otherwise law abiding citizens.”
In prepared comments, Bonacic noted ” In reading the summary of the legislation provided (my comments below are based on how the legislation has been explained, because the print of the bill has not been shown to Legislators as I write this – 8 PM on January 14), it appears law abiding citizens would become criminals – eligible to be sent to jail, simply by failing to tell the government they own guns they lawfully purchased.”
“Equally problematic is the provision in the legislation prohibiting more than seven rounds in a ten round magazine – something irrelevant to a criminal.” Bonacic also stated.
“Under the legislation, magazines people now own, which are capable of holding ten rounds (bullets) continue to be legal, but a person may only load seven rounds in them. It strains credibility to believe a criminal bent on a massacre is going to load only seven bullets in a ten round magazine. Law abiding citizens, on the other hand, who erroneously load too many bullets in a magazine, would be criminals under the legislation.” the Senator concluded.
The bill was debated in closed door meetings, and if adopted by the New York State Assembly it will see enforced limits on magazines, mandatory license renewal for gun owners every five years, stiffer penalties for bringing guns on school property or using a gun to commit a crime and further restrictions on guns that have been termed “assault weapons”.
“Under current state law, assault weapons are defined by having two ‘military rifle’ features spelled out in the law. The proposal would reduce that to one feature and include the popular pistol grip,” CBS reports.
Private sales of assault weapons to someone other than an immediate family member would be subject to a background check through a dealer. Also, Internet sales of assault weapons would be banned, and failing to safely store a weapon could be subject to a misdemeanor charge.
Ammunition magazines would be restricted to seven bullets, from the current 10, and current owners of higher-capacity magazines would have a year to sell them out of state. An owner caught at home with eight or more bullets in a magazine could face a misdemeanor charge.
Other provisions would see therapists required to report to the State perceived threats of gun violence by “mental health” patients. Those patients could then have their guns confiscated under the law.
Cuomo told reporters, without providing specifics, that the reason the legislation was being pushed through quickly was to avoid a potential run on sales of such weapons.
When the votes were tallied last night, the bill was overwhelmingly approved 43-18.
Senator Patty Ritchie another of the 18 to vote no on the bill, stated “…attempts to restrict legal ownership and possession of firearms from responsible sportsmen – rather than focusing on criminals – will not enhance the safety of our communities, and deprives law-abiding citizens of an important right under the Constitution of the United States.”
Senator James L. Seward added “For the first time, New York will be registering rifles and confiscating private property. We will do background checks on the simple purchase of a box of .22 ammo for squirrel hunting or target practice. Someone who puts eight cartridges in his magazine instead of seven will be a felon. Sadly, these extreme, harsh measures won’t stop criminals from getting guns and using them for illegal purposes.”
“These reactionary laws force new, onerous regulations on those who meticulously obey the law and infringe on Second Amendment rights… further impeding the rights of law-abiding citizens does nothing to confront gun violence.” Seward added.
Saying that he believed the Constitution should be “strictly construed in a manner consistent with the intent of our nation’s founding fathers,” Senator Lee M. Zeldin, who also voted against the bill noted:
“In our Constitution are certain rights which provide the foundation of America’s greatness. Its Second Amendment in no uncertain terms guarantees the right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. Its purpose was not so much about hunting as it was for a deeper and much more important consideration of our founding fathers. The inspiration for this protection rose out of a fundamental mistrust of government.”
“Our great nation was founded on the idea that all people have certain inalienable rights. Our founding fathers understood that these rights were not granted by the government and therefore, shall not be removed by it either.” Zeldin stated.
The traditional three-day waiting period for a bill’s adoption is being waived by the Democrat-controlled Assembly, again citing a need to rush the bill through to avoid a rush on gun purchases. The Assembly is expected to approve the bill today without hesitation, paving the way for similar gun control measures on a national scale.
The president has said he is weighing as many as 19 different gun control measures that he could take without congressional approval, via executive order.