New York State Governor 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 semi-automatic 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 Lindenhurst Patch's Facebook page what people thought about the new measures, the reaction was mixed, but many said the laws won't prevent people who are determined to do harm.
“I do not agree with this. Nothing I have read about this will keep guns out of the hands of criminals,” said Jaiem Fleischmann. “By definition criminals will not register their guns, apply for licenses and background checks, obey magazine restrictions, purchase their ammunition from legitimate sources, etc.”
Fleischmann also said “only law abiding owners will be [negatively] impacted,” adding red tape to the process of obtaining guns for legal owners.
John Legutko agreed: “I think it's a waste of time. Stricter gun laws will not reduce the number of gun-related crimes. We already have some of the strictest gun laws in New York, and there are still gun crimes committed every day."
Legutko thinks the people who commit crimes are the ones who don’t care about laws anyway and not legally licensed gun owners. He equated guns to cancer death from cigarettes.
“Every minute someone dies of lung cancer and cigarettes are more available to children than guns are, but no one seems to care about that, especially the adult smoker,” he said. “Wouldn't that be unfair if we took your cigarettes away?”
Corinne Amato Perez and Michelle Greenberg Bornemann asked in the comments if people really understood the law, and Rocco Patto agreed.
“I agree we should be able to own a gun, but give me one good reason, besides the constitutional right excuse, why you need an automatic weapon,” said Patto.
Fleischmann said automatic weapons like machine guns are already banned in New York State and the issue is with semi-automatic weapons.
“The issue is semi-automatic, which is no different from a typical revolver or pistol the police or armed guard, etc. carry,” he said.
Fleischmann said more checks aren't going help unless the ones already on the books aren’t working in the first place.
“….In which case I would suggest fixing those instead of piling on more,” he said.
Others said banning assault weapons starts lawmakers down a slippery slope.
“We need to be careful when thinking of assault weapons bans,” Tom Mangiolomini. “It can be painted with a broad brush and include every semi-automatic hunting rifle, shotgun or handgun.”
He also worried that trying to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill might lead to innocent people being forced to publically register.
“Imagine every classified so-called mentally ill person being required to register with the local police (similar to sexual predators), and then that database be available to the public so they know that a mentally ill person lives in their neighborhood,” he said.
Joanne Schmidt Delgado was for the new legislation.
“I think its great,” she said. “I'm not against gun ownership; however, the laws have been too loose. This is a good compromise between what the left wants and right wants.”
We want to hear more. Do you support tighter gun control measures? Do you believe the state is taking the right action? Add your thoughts in the comments section, below.