NEW YORK New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed into law one of the nation's toughest gun-control measures and the first to be enacted since the mass shooting last month at an elementary school in neighbouring Connecticut.
The following are some key provisions of the legislation:
* Mental health alert: Mental health professionals will be required to report to local officials when they have reason to believe a patient is likely to cause serious harm to themselves or others. This information will be cross-checked against a new gun registration database. If such a patient possesses a gun, the license will be suspended and law enforcement officials will be authorized to remove the firearm.
* Assault weapons ban: The law provides a stricter definition of assault weapons, and implements an immediate ban of defined assault weapons. Under the stricter definitions, semi-automatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines and one military-style feature will be considered assault weapons. Semi-automatic shotguns with one military-style feature will also be considered assault weapons.
Assault weapons possessed before the effective date must be registered within a year and recertified every five years. Owners of grandfathered assault weapons may only sell out of state or through an in-state federal firearms licensee. Under the legislation, the AR-15-style Bushmaster used in the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting will be illegal.
* Ammunition restrictions: New York will have the nation's strictest ban on high-capacity magazines - seven rounds, down from 10. It includes a ban on possession of pre-1994 high-capacity magazines, requiring owners to sell banned magazines out of state within one year. Existing 10-round clips are grandfathered, but may only be loaded with seven rounds.
* Ammunition purchase tracking: The legislation makes New York the first state in the nation to track ammunition purchases in real time. All dealers must be registered with the state police, and each sale will require both a state background check and transmission of a record of the sale to the state police, so as to enable alerts of high-volume purchases.
Direct internet sales of ammunition are banned. Ammunition ordered over the Internet must be delivered in a face-to-face transaction with a firearms dealer. The purchaser will be subject to a state background check. Authorities have said the accused gunman in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theatre shooting amassed 6,000 rounds through direct online purchases.
* Recertification of handguns and assault weapons: Individuals who have a handgun license or have registered an assault weapon must recertify every five years. The state will establish an electronic gun permit database.
* Universal background checks: All gun transfers between private parties, except immediate family, must be conducted through a federal firearms licensee, subject to a federal National Instant Criminal Background Check. This closes the so-called private-sale loophole.
* Webster provision: Murder of a first responder engaged in his or her duty is punishable by a mandatory penalty of life in prison without parole. This provision was created following the deaths of Lt. Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka, volunteer fire-fighters who were ambushed responding to a deliberately set fire in Webster, New York, on December 24.
* Extending and strengthening Kendra's Law: Kendra's law will be extended for two years - through 2017 - and the period of mandatory outpatient treatment will be extended from six months to one year. In addition a review will be required before a mentally ill inmate is released. The law, dating from 1999, is named for Kendra Webdale, who was pushed to her death in front of a New York City subway train by a man with schizophrenia.
* Protective orders: A judge issuing a protective order who finds a substantial risk that the subject of the order will use a gun against the person protected by the order must require the surrender of the weapon.
* Safe storage: The law requires safe storage of firearms in households where individuals live who have been convicted of a crime, involuntarily committed, or are subject to an order of protection. Existing state law already requires that all guns sold at retail in the state be sold with a gun lock.
* Keeps guns out of schools: The penalty for possession of a firearm on school grounds or a school bus will be increased from a misdemeanour to a felony.
* Tougher penalties for illegal gun use: The legislation establishes a range of tougher penalties for those who use illegal guns as well as measures to help combat gang violence.
(Compiled by Dan Burns; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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