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New York expands ban on assault weapons

ALBANY, N.Y. — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law a sweeping package of gun-control measures on Tuesday, significantly expanding a ban on assault weapons and making New York the first state to change its laws in response to the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

Cuomo signed the bill less than an hour after the State Assembly approved it by a 104-to-43 vote on the second full day of the 2013 legislative session. The state Senate, which had in the past resisted more restrictive gun laws, approved the measure 43 to 18 on Monday night.

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“I am proud to be part of this government, not just because New York has the first bill, but because New York has the best bill,” the governor, a Democrat, said at a news conference. “I’m proud to be a New Yorker because New York is doing something — because we are fighting back.”

The expanded ban on assault weapons broadens the definition of what is considered an assault weapon and reduces the permissible size of gun magazines to 7 rounds, from 10. It also includes provisions to better keep firearms away from mentally ill people and to impose stiffer penalties on people who use guns in the commission of crimes.

Gun-rights advocates denounced the measure. The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association said New York gun owners “should be ashamed and afraid of our state,” and the National Rifle Association said, “These gun-control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime.”

“The Legislature caved to the political demands of a governor and helped fuel his personal political aspirations,” the NRA said.

But Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City, a vocal advocate of gun control, hailed the legislation, saying it “protects the Second Amendment rights of people, and at the same time it makes all New Yorkers safer.”

Elected officials in New York and around the nation have been debating how to respond to gun violence since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

As the New York Legislature was voting for the new gun-control measures, the state’s comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, said that he would freeze investments by the state’s pension fund in firearm manufacturers.

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