Wow! It’s hard not to be impressed by the speed and clarity with which the state Legislature acted to give New York the toughest gun-control law in the country.
A week ago, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepared his State of the State speech, stories surfaced of legislators talking quietly behind closed doors. Just days later, they passed a law of substance that, even if it principally addresses only the most extreme element of the nation’s gun-violence problem (military-style assault weapons), is a big improvement over the status quo. Though perhaps not right away, it will eventually make those guns harder to obtain and kill with.
The legislation, which clarifies the definition of assault weapons, bans sales of new ones, and imposes stricter rules for owning and selling them as well as ammunition, is also significant in the context of history: As a timely response to last month’s Newtown, Conn. shooting, it may help the Obama administration press its case with Congress for similar legislation at the national level. That’s really what’s necessary if the supply of these guns and ammo is ever to be dried up.
Gov. Cuomo has taken some heat for fast-tracking the legislation and waiving the normal three-day cooling-off period, but it was clear from all the stories about brisk sales at local gun shops since news of the impending law surfaced that additional delay would have meant even more sales. Enough have already occurred in the month since Newtown, and Cuomo was wise to cut off the buying spree as soon as he could.