Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 14, 2013

New York lawmakers poised to be 1st to pass post-massacre gun bill

Working quickly, New York lawmakers poised to be 1st to pass post-massacre gun bill

Niagara Gazette — ALBANY — Days after calling for an overhaul of gun control in New York following the Connecticut school shooting, Gov. Andrew Cuomo worked out a tough proposal on gun control with legislative leaders late into the night Monday expecting to pass one of the nation's most restrictive gun laws.

"This is a scourge on society," Cuomo said Monday night, one month after the Newtown, Conn., shooting that took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators. "At what point do you say, 'No more innocent loss of life.'"

Republican Sen. Martin Golden said after Cuomo's remarks that the Senate would immediately take up the bill on a track to pass it. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had said he expected the package of bills to be passed late Monday night.

Sen. Jeffrey Klein, leader of the Independent Democrat Conference that shares majority control with Republican senators, also was confident the measure would pass.

"This will be the toughest gun control package in the nation ... all in all, it is a comprehensive, balanced approach that will save lives," Klein said.

Cuomo said he wanted quick action to avoid a run on assault rifles and ammunition as he tries to address what he estimates is about 1 million assault rifles in New York state.

The governor confirmed the proposal, previously worked out in closed session, called for a tougher assault weapons ban and restrictions on ammunition and the sale of guns, as well as a mandatory police registry of assault weapons, grandfathering in assault weapons already in private hands.

It would create a more powerful tool to require the reporting of mentally ill people who say they intend to use a gun illegally and would address the unsafe storage of guns, the governor confirmed.

Under current state law, assault weapons are defined by having two "military rifle" features spelled out in the law. The proposal would reduce that to one feature and include the popular pistol grip.

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