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New York State Closing in on Tougher Gun Laws
On Wednesday, during his state of the state address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the state is closing in on an agreement that would enact some of the toughest gun laws in the country, according to the New York Times. Cuomo said those laws would include a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines to go along with new measures for keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and those who are mentally ill.
Lawmakers in the state hope to vote on the package sometime next week. Sheldon Silver, the Assembly Speaker, said that leaders are “95 percent” towards an agreement.
“When you hear about these issues all across the nation, whether it’s in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, or Columbine, something needs to happen — something transformative,” said Senator Timothy M. Kennedy, a Democrat from Buffalo.
The aides for Governor Cuomo said that the proposed legislation would expand what is considered an assault weapon, which would match the laws in California. California’s laws are the strictest in the country right now. The rest of the package says that detachable ammunition magazines would be reduced to seven rounds from 10 rounds and background checks would be required for purchases of ammunition along with weapons.
The restriction on magazines to seven rounds would give New York the strictest laws in the country.
“We fully expect that New York state’s gun owners will be completely engaged in this debate and N.R.A. will be there to lead them,” said Chris W. Cox, the chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.
The chairman for the Shooters Committee on Political Education, Budd Schroeder, said, “The legislators are going to be getting a lot of phone calls in their district offices. How is taking away my rights to own any type of firearm I choose going to change the attitude of a criminal?”
On the group’s website, a warning was posted, which reads: “We can say with certainty, that anything short of overwhelming our legislators with calls, e-mails and letters, we have virtually no chance.”
In a statement from Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City said, “I was particularly struck by his passionate leadership on gun violence. New York State has led the nation with strong, common-sense gun laws, and the governor’s new proposals will build on that tradition.”
In his state of the state address, Cuomo said, “This is not about taking away people’s guns. It is about ending the unnecessary risk of high-capacity assault rifles. That’s what this is about.”
“Forget the extremists — it’s simple,” Cuomo said. “No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer.”