New York today became the first state in the US to take steps to enact tough new laws to confront growing gun violence in schools in the country, by imposing new restrictions on assault weapons.
The state senate voted overwhelmingly in favour of a legislation that seeks to expand a ban on assault weapons and prevent the mentally ill from possessing guns making it the first state to put in place "toughest, most comprehensive" gun laws in the aftermath of the mass shooting in a Connecticut elementary school.
The state senate passed the NY Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NY SAFE) with a 43 to 18 vote. The bill now goes to the lower house of the state for ratification.
The moves by one of America's most populous states came as media reports said that President Barack Obama was contemplating new steps to curb gun violence nationwide without having to seek approval of the Congress.
"The Senators that voted for the NY SAFE Act of 2013 made a bold statement, coming together in a bipartisan, collaborative manner to meet the challenges that face our state and our nation, as we have seen far too many senseless acts of gun violence," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
The legislation aims to protect New Yorkers by reducing the availability of assault weapons and deterring the criminal use of firearms "while promoting a fair, consistent and efficient method of ensuring that sportsmen and other legal gun owners have full enjoyment of the guns to which they are entitled."
The new gun rules would provide the "toughest, most comprehensive and balanced answer" in the nation to gun violence.