The government’s attempts to regulate guns and gun ownership, however, always have been met with staunch opposition from many sportsmen and gun owners, who hold fast to that section of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’’
For decades and more, we’ve heard all the arguments about how that phrase should be interpreted and how far government should go in its attempts to regulate the ownership and use of guns.
Back in the 1960s, a popular statement with the counterculture was that if guns were banned, then only the military, cops and criminals would have guns. That warning is still used today by some who fear that government might go too far in restricting gun ownership.
In the last few decades, the calls for or against gun control restrictions seem to follow horrible crimes involving guns, especially the use of assault rifles that can kill many people quickly. And, now, after the Newtown massacre of school children and educators in December, the drive for more gun control at the federal level is afoot.
New York state, however, always quick to regulate, did not wait for Washington to act, and passed its own law in January. The state already had an assault weapons ban, but it had not been updated since 1994 to prohibit new types of semi-automatic weapons on the market.
The new law broadens the definition of banned assault weapons and makes magazines containing more than seven bullets unlawful. It also boosts penalties for illegal gun possession, trims public access to gun permit information and allows mental health professionals to report concerns about gun-owning patients they believe might be at risk of harming themselves or others. It also requires owners of formerly legal semi-automatic guns to register them.