On Tuesday afternoon Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new measure to tighten the state’s gun laws.

He said the legislation broadens the definition of banned assault weapons and increases penalties for illegal gun possession.

"This is commonsense," he said. "Sometimes it's difficult to actually get to a place where you can exercise commonsense. This is a gun-control bill, if you will, that actually exercises commonsense.

"I'm proud to be a New Yorker because New York is doing something," he added. "New York is fighting back. It's unfortunate that it took those tragedies (at Sandy Hook Elementary) to get us to this point. It says commonsense can win and good people can win."

Cuomo has pushed for action since mass shootings a month ago in Newtown, Connecticut. New York’s legislation is the first action by any state since the shootings, and also preempts a federal effort.

The governor was joined in the red room by democrats from the Assembly and Senate, as well as prosecutors and police officials.

The law redefines "assault weapons," which now includes:

  • Semiautomatic rifles that have detachable magazine clips or any one of the following features: a flash suppressor, a folding or collapsible stock, a pistol grip, a thumb hole stock, a second hand grip for the non-trigger hand, a bayonet mount or a grenade launcher.
  • A semiautomatic shotgun with any one of these attributes also qualifies: a fixed capacity of over seven rounds or a shroud that lets the shooter grab the barrel.
  • Revolving-cylinder shotguns are also banned.
  • A semiautomatic pistol with a folding stock, a thumb hole stock, a second hand grip, the ability to accept a magazine outside of the grip, or a shroud or a threaded barrel capable of accepting a silencer.

These new definitions take effect immediately, so firearms dealers are now prohibited from selling a newly classified assault weapon. The state police will set up a website telling which guns are legal and which are not.