Albany Round-up

March 1, 2013

NY to exempt TV, movies under state's new gun law


However, the need for a "cleanup" bill also means the fight over the law may not be over after all.

An estimated 10,000 opponents of the new law are expected to descend on Albany on Thursday to try to persuade lawmakers to take advantage of an unexpected second shot at the law critics claim is unconstitutional.

The law was passed in a flurry of closed-door negotiations, without public hearings or a three-day review required of bills under the state constitution. The measure was debated, passed and signed within hours, just days before President Barack Obama proposed his measures including tougher gun control.

"Had they not rushed this bill through, this bill would never have become law," said Assembly Republican leader Brian Kolb. "This opposition would have been mobilized ... this bill would do nothing to prevent the tragedies."

Most opponents have rallied around a call for repeal of the law, which would be impossible to pass through the Assembly led by New York City Democrats who have long championed gun control measures. But the cleanup bill provides an opportunity for lawmakers to submit more substantive changes.

Others are considering a strategy of blocking the bill from passage, which could bolster the chances of a pending lawsuit that seeks to overturn the law.

The law bans a broader array of military-style weapons, restricts ammunition magazines to seven rounds from 10, creates a more comprehensive database of people barred from owning guns, and makes New York the first state to require background checks to buy bullets.

Therapists, doctors and other mental health professionals will be required to tell state authorities if a patient threatens to use a gun illegally. Mental health advocates are also seeking amendments to the law they say may interfere with treatment of potentially dangerous people and discourage them from seeking help.

Cuomo and Sen. Jeffrey Klein, who co-sponsored the gun control legislation, said he and legislators are only discussing technical changes at this time.

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Albany Round-up