New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed “the toughest assault weapons ban in the nation” in his State of the State address Wednesday afternoon – a response to the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., and the shooting deaths of firefighters in upstate New York.
“We must stop the madness,” Cuomo said.
“This is not about taking away peoples’ guns,” said Cuomo, adding that he’s gone hunting and owns a shotgun. “It is about ending the unnecessary risk of high-capacity assault rifles.”
Cuomo previously described New York’s assault weapons regulations as having “more holes than Swiss cheese.”
The governor proposed a seven-point plan that includes the elimination of all high-capacity magazines, regardless of the date of manufacture. New York law currently prohibits magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but excludes magazines made prior to 1994.
Cuomo also proposed background checks for all gun sales between private parties, as well as stricter penalties for the illegal purchase of weapons and measures to ensure that guns stay out of the hands of mentally ill individuals.
Even before the governor spoke, the topic stirred debate in New York, which is one of seven states that currently restrict the purchase and possession of assault weapons. The others are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which supports gun control measures.
“New York’s assault weapons ban is, as he noted, riddled with loopholes, and it’s important to approach that with a fresh eye,” said Benjamin Van Houten, a managing attorney at the Law Center. “Currently California has the strongest state assault weapons ban, but I’m really encouraged by what the governor was saying today.”