New York gun law: Privacy forms to be available Friday
Gun permit holders in New York can choose not to have their names and addresses made public as soon as Friday, State Police said.
The applications, authorized under the SAFE Act passed by the Assembly in January, will be available wherever firearm licensing is granted, which in most counties are clerks' offices, though some counties require owners to register with their sheriff.
Permit holders must check a box on the application explaining why they wish to have their names and addresses kept secret, such as law enforcement officers or victims of domestic abuse. But the law, which was the first state legislation passed in the wake of the Dec. 14 Newtown, Conn., school shooting, also allows owners to opt out because of a fear of harassment, a provision that some open-government advocates have criticized as being too broad.
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The law's privacy provision was added after the White Plains-based Journal News newspaper decided to publish the names and addresses of 44,000 gun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties on its website, LoHud.com, in December. The decision unleashed a torrent of criticism from gun owners, politicians and the public, and the addresses of pistol license holders eventually were removed from the website following the law's passage.
The new legislation not only bans many assault-style weapons but also restricts the availability of large ammunition magazines -- limiting cartridge capacity to seven, down from the current limit of 10 -- while also requiring mental health professionals to report patients who may pose a danger to law enforcement officials.
The new law also increases penalties for criminal use of guns in certain circumstances. It mandates a sentence of life without parole for anyone convicted of shooting a first responder to death -- a provision related to the shooting deaths of two firefighters in upstate Webster in December. Possession of a firearm on school grounds or on a school bus will be treated as a felony, not a misdemeanor.