State Senator Patty Ritchie voted against a gun control bill that was approved by the State Senate late Monday night.
- Bans the sale of so-called assault weapons but grandfathers existing weapons;
- Bans magazines that hold more than seven rounds of ammunition. Magazines that hold 10 rounds or less need to be retrofitted. The rest need to be sold out of state or turned over to police within a year;
- Requires background checks for gun buyers even for private, person-to-person sales;
- Makes carrying a gun on school grounds a felony;
- Creates a sentence of life in prison without parole for anyone who murders a first responder, as happened recently in Webster;
- Allows gun permit holders to ask that their information be kept private under one of several exceptions;
- Requires mental health professionals to alert authorities if they think a person is a risk, allowing authorities to confiscate any guns the person may have;
- Alerts police to large purchases of ammunition.
Cuomo used his State of the State speech last week to call for the toughest gun control measures in the country, in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The gun control bill passed, 43-18, with support from both parties and the independent caucus of Senators which gave its support to Republicans. It goes to the Democratic-controlled Assembly as soon as today, and then to the Governor for his signature.
Ritchie, who represents Oswego County in the Senate, issued the following statement:
The horrific incidents in Newtown, CT, and Webster, NY, prompted shock and outrage across America. As a mother, and a grandmother, I experienced the same emotions and horror at these events, and other recent random acts of gun violence, as citizens all across this great state and nation.
It has been clear to me that the only truly effective way to stem future such acts of random violence is with penalties that fit the crime, as well as improvements to our mental health safety net, to keep firearms out of the hands of convicted felons, career criminals, the mentally ill, and those who may wish to do harm.
I support the provisions of this plan that strengthen our laws against criminal use of firearms, and especially, the inclusion of my “Mark’s Law” proposal that provides the maximum penalty under law—life imprisonment without possibility of parole—for the murder of First Responders and the courageous volunteers. I was proud to create and sponsor this legislation, to honor Mark Davis, an EMT from my own district who was murdered while performing his duty, and the millions of brave men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line to serve and save others.
I also wholeheartedly support the expansion of “Kendra’s Law” to help ensure adequate medical care and services for the mentally ill, and hope that the resolve forged by these horrific crimes will lead to continued efforts to improve and strengthen our system of mental health care even beyond the provisions of this legislation.
At the same time, it is also clear to me that attempts to restrict legal ownership and possession of firearms from responsible sportsmen—rather than focusing on criminals—will not enhance the safety of our communities, and deprives law-abiding citizens of an important right under the Constitution of the United States.
It is for that reason, and based on the many hundreds of sportsmen and constituents I represent, who contacted my office to urge me to oppose this legislation, that I chose to vote no on this legislation.