New York state already has one of the strictest sets of gun laws in America (one of seven states with a limit on assault weapons already), but Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D-NY) is pushing for what may be the nation’s most restricted gun legislation.
He’s raised eyebrows and caused a petition on WhiteHouse.gov, however, for a comment he made during an interview which implied that confiscation of assault weapons already in the possession of citizens could be an option. Since that statement, his office has stated that confiscation wouldn’t be practical and Cuomo himself has said nothing further on the matter.
The New York Times reports that:
Mr. Cuomo has described the existing law as having “more holes than Swiss cheese,” and he wants to broaden the number of guns and magazines covered by the law while also making it harder for gun makers to tweak their products to get around the ban.
Somewhat bittersweet is the fact that proposed laws always seem to come in the aftermath of horrific killings — New York, as mentioned above, is one of seven states to already have a partial ban on assault weapons. However, that law was a direct result of the Columbine shootings. It’s sad that we can only see well with hindsight.
The Times also reports: “‘I think what the nation is saying now after Connecticut, what people in New York are saying, is ‘Do something, please,’ ‘ Mr. Cuomo told reporters recently.”
The previous ban on assault weapons is ineffective because manufacturers modify their products to circumvent the specifics of gun control legislation in order to continue selling their product. The Times goes on to say:
“This is a singular moment in the history of the gun control movement,” said Richard M. Aborn, the president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City. “The governor has the opportunity to set the high-water mark and continue New York’s leadership position in having the most effective gun control laws in the country.”
The state’s District Attorneys Association sent a letter to the governor and legislative leaders on Tuesday calling for, among other things, the elimination of a grandfather clause that allows some high-capacity magazines. And nearly 100 lawmakers have endorsed a set of proposals that includes limiting handgun purchases to one per month, requiring a new form of ballistics identification and putting in place universal background checks.
Cuomo, if he is to be successful, may need a measure of bipartisan support in order to get the legislature through the Republican-controlled state Senate. This seems somewhat unlikely; conservatives like to cite the overall low number of those killed in New York by rifles per year as compared to other methods of murder. What they fail to recognize is that mass murders are much easier with certain types of weapons, and those are the incidents that Cuomo clearly hopes to avoid with new reasonable assault rifle legislation.
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