Southampton Reacts to New York Gun Control Bill

Local state lawmakers support the NY SAFE Act.

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed into law the first gun control bill to be adopted following the Dec. 14 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. — with the support of the state lawmakers who represent Southampton.

Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, whose district includes the entire East End, voted in favor of the bill, as did Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr., I-Sag Harbor, who represents the South Fork and Shelter Island.

The Senate passed the legislation, called the NY Secure Firearms and Ammunition Enforcement (SAFE) Act, on Monday by a vote of 43 to 18. The Assembly followed suit on Tuesday by a vote of 104 to 43, and Cuomo signed it into law just hours later.

According to the governor's office, New York will be the first state to completely ban all pre-1994 high capacity magazines; to ban any magazine that can hold more than seven rounds, down from a limit of 10; and to conduct real-time background checks of ammunition purchases in order to alert law enforcement of high volume buyers.

The bill closes the "gun show loophole, which allowed sales of firearms without criminal background checks. The act also includes a tougher assault weapons ban and it requires mental health professional to report when they have reason to believe patients are likely to cause serious harm to themselves or others, among other provisions.

Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver said in a statement, "No civilian needs or should be able to purchase an assault weapon intended to kill as many human beings as swiftly as possible. Let us be perfectly clear — this bill is about protecting people. Protecting our children. Protecting our families. Protecting first responders, police officers, and firefighters."

The National Rifle Association called the bill "draconian."

"These gun control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime," an NRA statement reads. "Sadly, the New York Legislature gave no consideration to that reality.  While lawmakers could have taken a step toward strengthening mental health reporting and focusing on criminals, they opted for trampling the rights of law-abiding gun owners in New York, and they did it under a veil of secrecy in the dark of night."

Southampton Patch asked the followers of our Facebook page what they thought of the legislation and its passage.

Jeff commented, "Laws by simpletons for simpletons. I'm just glad Cuomo revealed himself to be the shrill leftist he is. I'm sure there's lines around the block of every police station in New York where criminals are turning in their guns tonight."

John said, "This only takes away guns from people who obey the laws, it doesn't solve the problem."

David said, "Thank you, governor. Proud to live in a state that will serve as an example of sensible, necessary gun control. If these measures prevent even one death, then they are worthwhile. The NRA has no sway here.

"Scalia and the Supreme Court made it very clear in Heller, the second amendment does not give blanket protection to anyone's right to own assault rifles or high capacity clips. These new restrictions are not an assault on the second amendment. They are reasonable protections that protect our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"

Chris commented, "Background check every time I by ammo? Please be real."

What do you think of the NY SAFE Act. Join the conversation by leaving your comments below.

David D'Agostino January 16, 2013 at 07:19 PM
I am extremely grateful fto our governor and to President Obama for taking bold action on such an important issue. Governor Cuomo's legislation and the President's recommendations do nothing to impede on 2nd amendment rights. As Scalia wrote in his Heller decision, the right to bear arms is not absolute and subject to regulations and controls. This is a sane and sensible approach to do something to control the epidemic of gun violence in our country.
David D'Agostino January 16, 2013 at 07:25 PM
Bonac, I disagree that this bill would have done nothing to stop Sandy Hook, but, even if you are correct, so what? Since Sandy Hook over 900 Americans have died by gunfire and, as the president said, if there is anything we can do to save even one life, then we are morally obligated to do so. I am curious as to why you and others are so adamantly opposed to all reasonable restrictions. Please rationalize the need for high capacity ammunition clips and high-powered assault rifles. To say that the president was dancing a jig when those kids were brutally murdered is really beyond the pale, regardless of your political ideology. It is the very attitude displayed in your post that will drive moderate, reasonable people to side with the president and the governor and we may finally be able to overcome obstinate absolutism and zealotry in the name of sensible restrictions.
highhatsize January 16, 2013 at 07:38 PM
Is that really the law? One can purchase 10 round magazines (if no 7 round capacity max magazines exist and 10 is the smallest that one can buy[?]) but you can't load more than 7 bullets? What about the future? Does NYS plan to limit purchases to 7 round max magazines as soon as they are available in the marketplace? If so, say, "Welcome!", to more intrusive law enforcement since cops will now be empowered to ask for one's rifle to be handed over so they can check compliance. The requirement of reporting by mental health counselors is troubling. If would dissuade people in need of help from seeking it (and would inhibit their participation in genuinely therapeutic interaction); negates doctor/patient confidentiality; and poses an ethical dilemma for professionals. Both aspects of this law are a dilution of our first and second amendment rights and of dubious constitutionality. Such a fundamental change should not be left in the hands of legislators, especially not state legislators. If the law is to be changed, let's have a federal constitutional amendment proposed, with a vigorous and expansive debate to show the ramifications of the proposed changes It is this reflexive recourse to construe every social problem as criminal that is making us a police state.
jin kim January 16, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Prohibition would save more lives than these new gun laws. So lets bring that back! If there is anything we can do to save even one life, we are morally obligated to do so no? Lets also restrict smoker to 5 a day. That would also save a few lives. When you say "High-powered" assault rifles, what does that mean? Does it mean u can shoot the rifle faster then say a typical Ruger Mini 14 ranch rifle? Or maybe the caliber of the bullet is bigger? Would it surprise you at all that these "High-Powered" assault rifles have the same rate of fire and same caliber, but it just looks different and just looks "evil?" It's a Civic with a Porsche shell on it. It's not about just these laws. It's the principal of them infringing little by little. So your girlfriend wants to cheat on u, but she says she wont. But then u see her talking to another guy often. You let that pass. Then the next year she starts hold hands with a guy. Next year she starts just kissing the guy. Little by little she moves closer to the inevitable. Take a look at the Bushmaster AR15 the media is telling u was used. Take a look at the video of them taking the rifle out of the trunk. Now look up the Saiga 223. Not an assault rifle. This legislation would have done ZERO for Sandy Hook. ZERO for Virgina Tech, ZERO for Columbine. All done in GUN FREE ZONES by mentally ill. Stuff like this does not keep guns out of hands of those who will do harm. It makes life easier for criminals.
David D'Agostino January 16, 2013 at 08:00 PM
I fundamentally disagree with all of your assertions and I am quite confident that we will never agree. My hope is that our elected officials listen to the voices of the overwhelming majority of Americans who support they types of legislation proposed by the President. I only post here as an alternative to what I know will be an overwhelming majority of reactionary hyperbole. Thanks, Jin.
Duckbornandraised January 16, 2013 at 08:09 PM
The bill DOES NOT require mental health professionals to contact authorities. It gives them the option to do so if they please, and, if they do not, makes it so they can not be held accountable. The devil is in the details.
Paul T Cassidy January 16, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Instead of selling a firearm to someone, perhaps long term leasing is the answer to avoid a transfer fee. Can't wait to see the NICS check for ammo in action..., I will try to buy my stuff in bulk to minimize transaction time out of my life.
highhatsize January 16, 2013 at 10:31 PM
to Duckbornandraised: Thanks for the clarification.
Christian Olsen January 17, 2013 at 02:33 AM
If the next crime is committed with a remington shotgun is Mr Cuomo going to register his or are all his body guards going to carry seven rounds?
Alan Kaplan January 17, 2013 at 03:12 PM
This whole gun issue IMHO is knee jerk politics at its best, But I wanted to share a recollection with those folks who are following this story on this site. It is fascinating to me that the current Gov Cuomo has made such an issue of restricting mental health patients from acquiring guns. Please someone corrent me if I am wrong, but didn't the first Gov Cuomo actually close most of the state mental hospitals during his term in office? A good friend of mine worked at Pilgram State Hospital (just off the Sagtikos Patrkway) and was put out of work due to the closure of Pilgrim State ordered by the Mario Cuomo administration. It is sort of humorous that the new Gov never mentioned that it was his father that put these troubled people back on the streets. As usual, the politicians are once again counting on the very short memory of the electorate. I could be mistaken, but that is how I remember it.
Mary Beth January 17, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Actually, Alan, I believe you are mistaken. The largest cuts to mental health services came under Pataki in 1995 and 1996. "Gov. George E. Pataki announced today that his 1996 budget proposal would call for the closing of Kingsboro Psychiatric Center in Brooklyn, a 485-patient center that is one of the state's largest psychiatric hospitals and one of its most troubled. That comes as part of a larger proposal to reorganize the state's mental health system to cut spending for mental health services and allowing counties to spend the reduced money as they choose. The Governor's mental health plan will effectively call for an end to community reinvestment, a policy begun in 1993 that requires that part of the money saved from closing state psychiatric hospitals be spent on community care for the mentally ill. In its place, the state would put a block-grant system, under which counties would receive fixed sums of money with fewer strings attached." The emptying of mental health institutions happened in the 60's and 70's. Cuomo was elected in 1982. There is nothing "kneejerk" about trying to find some solutions to the gun deaths of 12,000 Americans a year.
Alan Kaplan January 17, 2013 at 05:22 PM
Mary Beth: It would appear that without checking, your fact base is probably better than my memory. The point I was trying to make, is that these mentally compromised people were mainstreamed back into society by politicians who did not consider the unintended consequences of their actions or legislation. Most of the recent gun violence has been attributed to people who needed mental health care not by law abiding citizens. So once again, punishing those people who play by the rules for a handful of compromised people who should themselves been protected rather than turned out into society for budgetary reasons. Lastly, citizens in my experience do not lose their rights suddenly, It is a slow process that seems to occur overtime, and is almost unnoticeable until it is too late. My concern and fear on this new political initiative/solution is that nothing measureable will happen as a result of this solution, and some future governor will deem it a failure and move incrementally further toward more and more restrictions and ultimately confiscation. Confiscation is truly what the political powers really desire IMHO, and slowly but surely, law abiding citizens will lose another of their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
Mary Beth January 17, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Alan, thanks for keeping things civil, something that I know is very difficult on this topic. I understand what you're saying about the mentally ill and that discussion definitely has to be a part of any solution. The truth is, however, that the mentally ill are much more likely to be victims than perpetrators. I do not see the issue of reasonable gun control as an impingement on any constitutional rights. It has been pointed out here and other places that the Supreme Court has determined that the right to bear arms is not absolute and is subject to some restrictions. I don't think any law-abiding gun owner, whether a hunter, sportsman or a someone who owns a gun for protection would be punished by background checks, or by not being allowed to purchase an assault weapon or a high capacity clip. The legislation proposed by the president and enacted by the Governor will not lead to confiscation. I think that is nothing more than hyperbole ginned up by an industry to increase profits. I am afraid we will have to agree to disagree.
Alan Kaplan January 17, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Mary Beth, your civility is appreciated as well. In think that is what is now missing in our country. No longer can we have a non emotional conversation about topics we do not agree upon. The paranoia and lack of trust is astonishing at times. I agree that to have removed these people from facilities was wrong. Particularly to save money which was the excuse at the time. We should be providing care to those that cannot take care of themselves. On that point I think we agree. I am sure we will have conversations in the future.
Jaguar-Guy January 17, 2013 at 06:58 PM
I agree Alan that the infringement and then erosion of Constitutionally protected rights starts slowly and continually builds. In this - unhappy all around - discussion, the end goal of the politicians is confiscation. Wait until Prez. O signs the International Treaty on Weapons - that is the real beginning of the end of "the right to bear arms". Many posters have obviously not been out west where EVERYBODY has multiple Assault Weapons. I have no problem with background checks, waiting periods and regulatiing maximum clip-capacity @ 10. Good points Al and good perspective on what their end-game goal is - Europe. Here is a Pod, now let's put it next to you and please go to sleep.
Alan Kaplan January 17, 2013 at 07:23 PM
Jaguar-Guy, I thank you for your comment on my posting. I agree with you on background checks, waiting periods, and magazine capacity. Unfortunately well intentioned people, many of whom are unfamiliar with guns or are repulsed by them are pushing hard for controls that are in my opinion draconian. Look at the magazine capacity issue. You are at home, and 2 or 3 "bad guys" break in to do you and your family harm. You have a hand gun with 7 rounds in the magazine, the bad guys, who do not play by the rules have many more. During this stressful moment it is entirely possible for you to miss your targets and go through a number of rounds without any success. After you use up your 7, if the bad guys are still there, you and your family are in serious jeopardy of all being shot and killed. Once again, the laws deprive law abiding citizens the right to protect themselves and their family from harm. One more thought and I have to go back to getting my work done is, a magazine can be removed and replaced in a handgun or rifle in probably 2 seconds or less. What is accomplished by limiting the capacity to 7. Thanks again for your comments.
Jaguar-Guy January 17, 2013 at 07:32 PM
They fear that which they do not understand - I get that and I agree with you there. And yes, we have ALL seen movies where prepared lunatics tape clips together to flip when the buletts are spent. They pull out the clip and flip it over - it is not rocket-science (for some, sadly it is).
Jaguar-Guy January 17, 2013 at 07:37 PM
P.S. The answer to your Kobiashi-Maru senerio above is - get a Shotgun (no permit needed). Just loading one in the chamber will make ANY burgler "code brown" in his pants.
Alan Kaplan January 17, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Jaguar-Guy - The clack-clack of a Mossberg 500 often does the trick. Unfortunately, JT Kirk had phasers, and we don't.
jeff payne January 17, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Curious that the NRA national match course, pistol is shot with two clips of 5 rounds each. I would therefore assume, under your logic, that all those custom made 1911s are useless. Please tell me why you need more than 7 rounds in a semi automatic handgun. Unless of course you couldn't hit a bull in the ass with a snow shovel.
Jaguar-Guy January 18, 2013 at 01:39 AM
Money - Mossberg 500. Too bad he set it on "stun" too often. And remember, if those crooks run, shoot em' and drag them back into the house = self defense.
Jaguar-Guy January 18, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Doctors (A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000. (B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000. (C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171 Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services. Now think about this: Guns (A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000 (Yes, that's 80 million). (B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500. (C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .0000188. Statistics courtesy of FBI So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. Remember, 'Guns don't kill people, doctors do.' FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, but almost everyone has at least one doctor. This means you are over 9,000 times more likely to be killed by a doctor as by a gun owner.
MauiWowie January 18, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Will undocumented gun owners get free healthcare?
Jaguar-Guy January 18, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Si, page 2,486 of Obamacare - only if you are a "dreamer".
Mary Beth January 18, 2013 at 06:24 PM
To become a physician you must attend anywhere from 12 to 16 years of higher education. You must pass a rigorous exam, then serve a residency/internship. You will then become licensed and continue to study to keep up to date. As a doctor you must carry liability insurance. You can be sued for malpractice for causing injury or death. The manufacturers of the pharmaceuticals and tools you use can also be sued. To kill with a gun you simply need to have a gun - these can be purchased without a background check or license or any formal training. Think how many more doctor-related deaths there would be if anyone who wanted to could practice medicine. Think how many less deaths there would be if gun owners had to go through the same rigorous training and licensing as doctors and if gun owners and manufacturers could be sued. Ridiculous argument? Well, it is the one you just made. Millions of people die each year from old-age, does that make gun violence any less relevant. The US has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, does that make gun violence any less relevant? The reason you cannot come up with a relevant, cogent argument that is truly analogous is that one does not exist. Just because people die of one thing does not mean we should do nothing to prevent them from dying of another.
Ken Walling January 18, 2013 at 09:15 PM
The entire fact that have to now go back and fix the bill, shows that they had no clue what they were really doing.
John Gruber January 25, 2013 at 02:38 PM
"Think how many less deaths there would be if gun owners had to go through the same rigorous training and licensing as doctors" Or more people will simply start to own weapons illegally...
Conservative Underground March 03, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Gun control myths debunked in five minutes. It is an old video but still relevant. In light of NY politicians coming forward and admitting they were wrong passing the SAFE act I thought it would be a nice reminder why. http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c71_1362237045
oonald March 04, 2013 at 03:43 AM
Mary, the facts are that 8000 murders are committed by blacks average age 24. Killed by other 24 year old blacks but pres Obama and. Gov. Cuomo say anything about that or al sharpton. Kids killing kids, And none of the guns are legal. What we need to do is make new laws that if you commit a crime, assault, attempt murder or murder you should be put to death. No if ands or butts and you don't wait on death row you go right to the front of the line. I'm all for background checks. But that's not going to stop these young kids and these mentally disturbed mass murders.
oonald March 06, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Hey Mary Beth I wish you would get your facts right. More than 90 thousand people die every year from physicians malpractice. 320 people die from all the rifles combined, assault and long rifles. By the way you can google that info if you don't believe me and I hope you do. Just stating facts


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