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gun control

New York Passes Nation’s First Gun Law After Newtown

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Red Room at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012.

The New York State Assembly approved Andrew Cuomo's gun-control bill by a vote of 104–43 on Tuesday afternoon, sending the measure back to the governor, who almost immediately signed it into law. The bill, which passed in the State Senate late on Monday, is the first in the United States after the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and focuses on limiting access to assault weapons and keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill. "This is not about taking anyone's rights away," said State Senator Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx last night. "It's about a safe society ... Today we are setting the mark for the rest of the county to do what's right."

While Assembly Republican Steve Katz claimed lawmakers were being "bullied ... solely for the governor's egotistical, misguided notion," Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos admitted the new law "is well-balanced, it protects the Second Amendment," the AP reports.

Under the new rules, New York's already strict laws get tighter: Rifles with at least one assault-weapon feature, like the AR-15 used in Newtown, will be prohibited; magazines max out at seven rounds; and background checks are required even in private sales of assault weapons. Additional mental-health restrictions are also included.

"This is a scourge on society," Cuomo said last night, less than a week after his gun-control offensive started at the State of the State address. "At what point do you say, 'No more innocent loss of life'?"

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Photo: Mike Groll/AP via Corbis