New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed gun legislation on Tuesday that made state laws the toughest in the country.
This new legislation includes expanding the state’s ban on assault weapons and strengthened guidelines to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. According to the new laws, owners of previously legal semiautomatic rifles will be allowed to keep their weapons but will have a year to register them with police. Future sale of these guns is prohibited.
The new restrictions come on the heels of recent gun violence, including the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in which 20 children and six adults were killed. Since the shootings, outcry for stricter gun control has been louder than ever, but these new laws do not come without opposition.
When we asked on our Facebook page what people thought about the new measures, the reaction was mixed but many said they are suspicious of the laws and others outright told us they will not work.
“No. I don't believe this will help the state,” said Colin Ifill.
Mike Sokoly agreed.
“Won’t have any effect at all,” Sokoly said, adding that he though it was “just a political ploy to get him [Governor Cuomo] closer to the White House.”
John Yeamans is suspicious of the motives of the lawmakers as well.
“If this politician does anything it's to enrich or empower himself, this will do nothing to stem gun violence and they know it,” he said. “The people clamor for change when the media incite them and our esteemed politicians give them what they want without regard for consequences.”
Yeamans sees this as another attack on the people’s rights.
“In this case further assault on the Constitution and the rights of law-abiding citizens,” he wrote. “The net effect is to create criminals out of gun enthusiasts while not one criminal or drug cartel will be deterred.”
One local gun owner said that he had extensive experience with firearms and wants gun control to make sense.
“I have no problem with better gun control, if it is logical and serves to keep us all safe,” said Mike Evans, a former Marine whose father was a corrections officer. “This knee jerk legislation does little to protect us against what the politicians and fear mongers say it will.”
Mizter Scott Cohen said that the law was approved too fast in his opinion.
“I do not think rushing a vote on a very controversial, sensitive matter is something that should be applauded,” Cohen said. “I find it sneaky. Saying your not allowed to have something has never stopped anyone determined enough from obtaining such. Look back to alcohol prohibition, look at drugs.”
He called for legislators to address mental health issues and better enforcement of the laws we have.
“What we need overall about so many issues, are not more laws and restrictions, but more enforcement of what is in place,” Cohen said. “Just my opinion.”
Rob Koslin thinks that laws prevent people from getting guns.
“You know, they can sign all the laws into effect, change things, tighten laws but if there is a will, there’s a way,” he said. “People will find a gun, mentally ill or not.”
Rob Walerstein was adamant.
“This will never work,” he wrote.
Brett Devaux agreed.
“Waste of time,” he said. “This will only hurt those who obey the law.”
Evans said that he thinks the definition of assault weapon in the legislation is wrong. He called it “quaint.”
“Changing the style of grip doesn't make a firearm an assault weapon,” he wrote. “A bayonet lug being a defining point makes me think they fear the knife more than the rifle. A collapsing stock? Negligible, at best. Black plastic furniture? Laughable.”
He would like to see the lawmakers “restrict certain ballistic qualities or cycle rates, or even include technological advances that are already available to inhibit use by unauthorized people.”
“That I would understand and agree with,” he said.
Only one person said he was for the law.
“Yes I agree with the tightening of the gun laws,” said Morris Levine.
We want to hear more. Do you support tighter gun control measures? Do you believe the state is taking the right action? Add your comment below.