ALBANY, N.Y. (TheBlaze/AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for tougher state bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines of ammunition as part of a progressive agenda in a sometimes fiery State of the State speech Wednesday.
“The tragic events of just the last few weeks in Newtown, Conn., and West Webster, N.Y., have indelibly taught us guns can cut down small children, firefighters and policemen in a moment,” Cuomo said.
The state already has among the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation, and the governor noted that New York passed the nation’s first handgun permit law, in 1911.
Here is his plan in a nutshell, via Politicker:
“Number 1: Enact the toughest assault weapon ban in the nation, period!” he shouted, before ticking off his other new gun control proposals. “Number two, close the private sale loophole by requiring federal background checks. Number three, ban high-capacity magazines. Number four, enact tougher penalties for illegal gun use, guns in school grounds and violent gangs. Number five, keep guns from people who are mentally ill. Number six, ban direct internet sales of ammunition in New York. Number seven, create a state [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] check on all ammunition purchases.”
“Forget the extremists,” he said. “It’s simple. No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer. And too many innocent people have died already. End the madness now. Pass safe, reasonable gun control in the state of New York. Make this state safer…set an example for the rest of the nation.”
For the record, many pro-gun advocates argue that guns are more important for self-defense rather than hunting and sport.
A deal is expected soon that could make New York one of the first states to pass gun control laws following the Dec. 14 shooting, in which 20 first-graders and six educators were gunned down with a powerful weapon at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The shooter also killed his mother and himself.
New York’s effort was hastened further by the Christmas Eve killings of two firefighters in western New York by a man who set his neighborhood on fire, lay in wait with a high-powered rifle for responders, shot them and killed himself. Webster residents related to the firefighters were honored guests at the State of State address.
“Let’s lead the way once again in saving lives,” Cuomo said in an often rousing speech that some observers said better positioned the Democrat for a 2016 run for president.
Cuomo would also require follow-ups for owners of handgun licenses to make sure they are still qualified to possess a gun based on criminal and other records. He would increase sentences for gun crimes including for using guns on school property and for gang activities.
Legislators were working Wednesday behind closed doors to reach agreement on the governor’s demand for tighter controls on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican Sen. Martin Golden agreed the closed-door talks have brought all sides to within 95 percent of a deal, which could be announced and acted on this week.
“New York leads the nation, it’s time New York lead the nation in this,” Silver said. His priorities are bans on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines of ammunition.
“Our goal is to try to get something done by the end of this week,” said Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos.
Featured image via AP