In the wake of last week’s tragedy in Connecticut, many elected officials are considering legislation on both gun control and building better systems for dealing with the sort of mental instability that leads to these tragedies. There are many ideas being put into play, among them stricter restrictions on handguns, lowering legal sizes of weapons’ magazines, and increased background checks for all firearms. By and large, it is seen as politically impossible to get many of these pieces of legislation through Congress, but there are two options that seem destined to shape the continuing legal education in NY and beyond.
The first option is a newer, stronger version of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, or “the Brady Bill.” When it was first adopted in 1994, this bill made it far more difficult for anyone with a history of mental illness or various other concerns to purchase a handgun. This resulted in nearly 1.9 million blocks in handgun licenses between the years of 1994 and 2009.
The second, and likely more immediately actionable, piece of the puzzle is reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban which ended in 2004. Several senators have indicated they might flip positions on this legislation after the recent spate of shootings. This all highlights the need to be attentive, not just to the latest laws, but even some older ones that have seemingly been dead for a long time.