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Poll finds new gun law supported; Law brings changes to pistol permits

The ban in New York on assault weapons like this one is approved by a majority of residents.
Contributed photo

By Fritz Mayer
January 23, 2013

ALBANY, NY — The gun control measures passed by the New York State Legislature and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on January 15 are supported by a majority of state residents, according to a poll by Siena College.

In the January 16 poll, banning assault weapons and magazine clips of more than seven bullets was supported by a margin of 73% to 26%. Support for an increase in penalties for purchasing illegal guns or using guns on school grounds was even higher, at 91% to 8%.

On the other side of the issue, the idea of placing armed guards in schools was opposed by 52% to 46%, and the arming and training of teachers in schools was opposed by 69% to 30%.

However, some owners of assault weapons—and there are estimated to be nearly a million in the state—are not pleased with the requirement that they must now register those weapons and some are vowing to ignore the law.

At a rally in Albany on January 19, a couple of thousand residents gathered to demonstrate against the new law, and speakers included several New York State Assembly members who also expressed sharp opposition.

Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, for instance, told the crowd, “They confiscate our guns, they confiscate our freedom.” However, with the law now passed, it is unlikely to be undone in the near future.

The law will mean changes for the Sullivan County Clerk’s Office, and clerks’ offices around the state in the area of pistol permits.

County clerk Dan Briggs told the legislature, at a meeting on January 17, that the old law provided that once a resident obtained a pistol permit, the resident had it for life. Under the new gun law, pistol permits have to be renewed every five years. Briggs said the renewals are to begin in 2018 and there will not be a fee for that renewal, though Briggs said he will believe that aspect of the law when it actually happens.

While the renewals will mean more work for his office, on the bright side, Briggs said under the new law, “We will be able to purge our system; we have 17,000 or 18,000 permits out there, and we have no idea who died or who relocated.”

Briggs said right now his office is swamped with applications for pistol permits; activity increased immediately when discussion of new gun control laws began at the state and federal level.