16 Jan 2013

New York approves tough gun ownership law

10:03 pm on 16 January 2013

New York state has approved one of the toughest gun ownership laws in the US and is the first to curb gun access since the massacre at a Connecticut school in December last year.

The law was rushed through both houses of the New York Congress on Tuesday.

The eastern state now has some of the toughest gun controls in the United States, the BBC reports.

Democrats and many Republicans backed measures to restrict magazine capacity to seven bullets, increase background checks for people buying weapons privately and introduce mental health screening for gun buyers.

Signing the bill into law, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said common sense can win.

The move is a response to the shooting at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman shot dead 27 people, including 20 children and his mother.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama is expected on Wednesday to unveil wide-ranging measures aimed at curbing gun violence.

Mr Obama has said he favours bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as broader background checks.

The president has already acknowledged that his proposals will face stiff opposition in Congress. But he is said to be weighing as many as 19 specific measures he could take through unilateral executive action.

These could include tougher punishment of gun trafficking, aggressive prosecution of people who lie on background checks, and an end to limits on government research into gun violence.

The nation's top gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, described the tighter rules in New York as draconian, saying they would have no impact on public safety.

The NRA also vowed to fight any attempts nationally to limit access to guns or ammunition.