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School Climate & Safety News in Brief

New York Passes Tough New Restrictions on Gun Sales

By Andrew Ujifusa — January 23, 2013 1 min read
Legislative leaders applaud after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, creating the nation’s toughest gun restrictions, last week in Albany.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation placing several new restrictions on gun ownership that also address school security, almost exactly one month after 20 children were shot and killed at an elementary school in neighboring Connecticut.

On Jan. 15, Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the NY SAFE Act, less than a week after proposing strict new gun-control policies in his State of the State speech.

“The new law will limit gun violence through common sense, reasonable reforms that include addressing the risks posed by mentally ill people who have access to guns, and banning high-capacity magazines and lethal assault weapons,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement announcing he had signed the bill.

The new law, Senate Bill 2230, creates “school safety improvement teams” that will work with districts in developing plans for schools that involve evacuations, community responses, and alerting family members and law-enforcement officers when violent or other emergency incidents occur.

The penalty for possessing a firearm either on school grounds or on a school bus was also increased from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Other new provisions include a seven-round limit on magazine capacity, a stricter assault-weapons ban that Mr. Cuomo said outlaws the specific rifle used in the Dec. 14 school shootings in Newtown, Conn., and broader background checks that close the “private sales” loophole between private parties, except for those gun sales between immediate family members.

Mental-health workers will also be required to report situations where they believe a patient might cause “serious harm” to themselves or others, and to check a new gun-registration database to see if that patient owns a firearm. If the patient does, law enforcement will then be authorized to seize it and suspend the patient’s gun license.

The National Rifle Association criticized the legislation in a statement: “These gun-control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime. Sadly, the New York legislature gave no consideration to that reality.”

A version of this article appeared in the January 23, 2013 edition of Education Week as New York Passes Tough New Restrictions on Gun Sales

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