ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — As New York lawmakers approved the nation's toughest gun control laws, the first since the Connecticut school shooting, gun enthusiasts lined up to criticize the state for what they called an overreach driven by political ambition.
Signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, the New York legislation tightens a ban on assault-style rifles, calls for background checks on ammunition purchases, outlaws large-capacity magazines and tries to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people deemed to be a threat.
It sparked spirited discussion among customers at the Buffalo Gun Center in the suburb of Cheektowaga, where business was so brisk that people had to wait in line in freezing temperatures just to get in the door.
"It's ridiculous. It's absolutely — how to put it nicely — it's Prince Andrew Cuomo's bid for the White House," said Jim Hanley, who was waiting to buy another handgun. "I want to do it before the right is taken away. Andrew Cuomo and Barack Hussein Obama are two best gun salesmen in the history of the world."
Jumping out ahead of Washington, Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the measure into law less than an hour after it won final passage in the Legislature. Supporters hailed it as a model for the nation and gun-rights activists condemned it as a knee-jerk piece of legislation that won't make anyone safer and is too extreme to win support in the rest of the country.
"Common sense can win," Cuomo said. "You can overpower the extremists with intelligence and with reason and with common sense."
Owners of an estimated 1 million previously legal semiautomatic rifles, such as the Bushmaster model used to kill 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., a month ago, will be allowed to keep their weapons but will have a year to register them with police. The sale of any more such weapons is prohibited.