Lawmakers debate new gun law, local senator tries to add illegal gun use amendment

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Local Senator Pam Helming tried to get illegal gun penalties attached to the new gun permit bill Governor Kathy Hochul is anxious to sign. Friday afternoon, the state Senate passed the bill.

Last week, the United States Supreme Court court said anyone with a gun permit should be able to carry it around without any additional requirements so it repealed a 114-year-old law in New York that required proof of the special need to carry.

That’s why the governor wants to toughen up the law around guns including disqualifying people from a permit.

"For example, if you have a history of dangerous behavior you shouldn’t be able to get a gun," Hochul said at a news conference after the Senate vote. "Full stop. Period. It’s just common sense."

The bill passed by the Senate Friday afternoon bans guns in parks, schools, hospitals and public transportation.

It says carry permits have to be renewed every three years. It requires 16 hours of in-class training and two hours of live-fire training.

"Yes, we think it is reasonable if one wants to use a gun to protect oneself that one demonstrate a proficiency in firing that gun and hitting the target that one intends to hit," said Sen. Brian Kavanagh, a Democrat from New York County.

But Senator Helming from the Finger Lakes region tried to attach an amendment to the bill increasing the penalty for using illegal weapons, increasing gun charges that qualify for bail and moving gun cases involving minors to adult court.

"Let’s face it – criminals are not rule followers," Sen. Helming said. "They’re not going to apply for a permit to carry. They’re not going to apply for permits for ammunition. The truth is the only people who will be impacted by the bill before us are people who follow rules."

These new rules apply to people who want a carry permit. For people who want a permit to have a pistol at home, a restricted permit, virtually nothing changes.

Here’s another change. After the Buffalo mass shooting, the state banned body armor. But the law actually didn’t ban the type of body armor the alleged shooter was wearing. This bill changes the definition so it does.