Hip-Hop Against Gun & Gang Violence Week starts today (May 17-23, 2013) so let’s start the week by taking a look at the NY SAFE Act signed into law January 15, 2013.
Written by Charles and Randy Fisher @HHSYC
In an effort to improve public safety by curbing gun and gang violence the Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council will launch their second annual Hip-Hop Against Gun & Gang Violence Week campaign in the city of New York and Nassau County starting May 17-23, 2013, as proclaimed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the New York City Council and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano. Events will be held throughout the week so stay tuned for daily reports and information, or you can visit the website at www.hhsyc.org and click on the Hip-Hop Against Gun & Gang Violence icon.
The organization, with support from the Hip-Hop Community, will take the entire week to educate young citizens as to how they can protect themselves and prepare for the dangerous summer months ahead. Participants will be educated on New York State’s new gun law, which are the toughest in the country. The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, commonly known as the NY SAFE Act, is a gun control law in the state of New York. The law was passed by the New York State Legislature on January 15, 2013 and was signed into law by the Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo on the same day.
The legislation was written in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. It was sponsored by State Senator Martin Golden. It passed the New York State Senate on Monday, January 14 and the State Assembly on Tuesday, January 15. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law half an hour after it passed the legislature. Cuomo described the law as the “toughest” gun control law in the United States.
The NY SAFE Act contains a number of firearms regulations and a severability provision in case the broad prohibitions against weapons are invalidated by the courts.
The SAFE Act includes the following provisions:
• Bans possession of any “high-capacity magazines” regardless of when they were made or sold. The maximum capacity for a detachable magazine is reduced from 10 rounds to 7. Magazines owned before passage of the SAFE Act able to hold 7 to 10 rounds can be possessed, but cannot be loaded with more than 7 rounds. The .22 caliber tubular magazines are exempt from this limit. Previously legal “pre-1994-ban” magazines with a capacity of 30 rounds are not exempt and must be sold within one year to an out-of-state resident or turned into local authorities. The magazine limit took effect April 15, 2013. Ten round magazines can still be fully loaded at firing ranges or in shooting competitions. In March 2013, the magazine limit provision was scaled back allowing 10 round magazines to continue to be sold, but still only loaded with 7 rounds outside of ranges and competitions.
• Ammunition dealers are required to do background checks, similar to those for gun buyers. Dealers are required to report all sales, including amounts, to the state. Internet sales of ammunition are allowed, but the ammunition will have to be shipped to a licensed dealer in New York State for pickup. Ammunition background checks will begin January 15, 2014.
• Requires creation of a registry of assault weapons. Those New Yorkers who already own such weapons would be required to register their guns with the state. Registry began on April 15, 2013 and must be completed before January 15, 2014.
• Requires designated mental health professionals who believe a mental health patient made a credible threat of harming others to report the threat to a mental health director, who would then have to report serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. A patient’s gun could be taken from him or her.
• Stolen guns are required to be reported within 24 hours. Failure to report can result in a misdemeanor.
• Reduces definition of “assault weapon” from 2 identified features to 1. The sale and/or transfer of newly defined assault weapons is banned within the state, although sales out of state are permitted. Possession of the newly-defined assault weapons is allowed only if they were possessed at the time that the law was passed, and must be registered with the state within 1 year.
• Requires background checks for all gun sales, including by private sellers – except for sales to members of the seller’s immediate family. Private sale background checks began March 15, 2013.
• Guns must be “safely stored” from any household member who has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence crime, has been involuntarily committed, or is currently under an order of protection. Unsafe storage of assault weapons is a misdemeanor.
• Increases sentences for gun crimes, including upgrading the offense for taking a gun on school property from a misdemeanor to a felony.
• Increases penalties for shooting first responders (Webster provision) to life in prison without parole.
• Limits the state records law to protect handgun owners from being identified publicly. However, existing permit holders have to opt into this provision by filing a form within 120 days of the law’s enactment . There also may exist issues with respect to “registered” owners in the new regulations vs. “permit” holders under previous law.
• Requires pistol permit holders or owners of registered assault weapons to have them renewed at least every 5 years.
Follow us on Twitter @HHSYC and hit us at Facebook.com/HHSYC. We will be reporting on issues related to gun and gang violence all week, as well as providing updates on the 7-day initiative that launches the 109-day campaign to improve public safety in communities throughout NYS.