Cuomo pushing for even tougher New York gun laws

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will likely announce plans today to tighten state restrictions on gun ownership

Topics: New York, Andrew Cuomo, Newtown school shooting, Gun Control, Gun Violence,

Though New York already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, in the wake of the Newtown school shootings Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., is pushing to crackdown on guns even more.

“I think what the nation is saying now after Connecticut, what people in New York are saying is ‘Do something, please,’” Cuomo said recently.

According to a report by the New York Times, sources close to the negotiations in the New York legislature say the governor is looking for a broad package to tighten restrictions, to be announced in his State of the State address Wednesday. The proposal could have tougher sentences for gun crimes, in addition to other provisions:

According to people briefed on the talks, the governor is considering not only rewriting the state’s assault weapons ban, but also proposing more expansive use of mental health records in background checks of gun buyers, lower limits on the capacity of magazines sold legally in New York and a new requirement that gun permits be subject to periodic recertification.

Seven states, including New York, already ban assault weapons, but Cuomo has said the law has “more holes than Swiss cheese” and he wants to make it tighter.

CBS 2 New York reports that Cuomo is negotiating with state legislators, in the hope that he can announce a deal in his speech today. But, the Times reports, that is not likely:

But Mr. Cuomo faces a complicated political landscape in Albany. The Assembly is controlled by Democrats who are eager for more gun restrictions, while the Senate this year is to be controlled by an unusual coalition of Republicans, who have largely resisted new gun laws, and dissident Democrats, who support more gun control. Mr. Cuomo, during his first half of his term, assiduously courted Senate Republicans, even persuading them to allow the vote that legalized same-sex marriage, but he has indicated that he is now willing to challenge the Republicans over the gun issue.



Cuomo also has the NRA to contend with, as well as gun rights advocates who have been pushing back against the governor’s recent comment that “confiscation could be an option” for assault weapons. There is even a petition on the White House website in response, which says, “we do NOT LIVE IN NAZI GERMANY.”

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is still confident that a deal can be reached. “I think we’ll come up with a reasonable definition [of assault weapons] and a reasonable closing of loopholes,” he said, adding: “I think it’s achievable.”

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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    On Wednesday, September 10th Amanda Stern partnered with Salon to relaunch The Happy Ending Music and Reading Series. We had the pleasure of hosting authors Leslie Jamison, Zadie Smith, and Matthew Thomas, artist Edwina White, and musician Emily Wells. Moleskine, Greenlight Bookstore, and Plymouth Gin were event partners.

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