Cuomo sets sights on stronger gun laws

January 11, 2019 06:33 AM

Mixed reactions after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he is setting his sights on stronger gun laws.

Bills on the table include the red flag law, banning bump stocks and expanding background checks. 

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“I’m excited we are making progress in sensible gun laws,” said Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell, the Democratic Assistant Minority Leader. “When we have a lack of gun laws we see tragedy come into play all the time like mass shootings.” 

In the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, the gunman attached bump stocks to semi-automatic weapons to simulate machine gunfire. 

It led the Department of Justice to classify them as "machine guns," banning them nationwide under Federal Law. 

Now Cuomo wants to ban them as well. 

The governor also wants to expand background checks to ten days for anyone not immediately approved to buy a firearm through the background check. 

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing but it doesn't accomplish much in preventing crime because criminals don't go through background checks for guns,” said Ken Mathison, chair of the Monroe County Chair of the Shooters Committee on Political Education or S.C.O.P.E. “It’s the wrong approach they always go for laws that target people who are not the threat.” 

The red flag law is the final bill being pushed. It would allow courts to suspend access to firearms for people showing signs of being a threat to themselves or others.

Gary Pudup with New Yorkers Against Gun Violence says two witnesses would need to present signed affidavits in front of a judge. The witnesses would need to be certified professionals like teachers or doctors.  The suspension would be for a maximum of one year. 

“In fact, in other states like Connecticut where they enacted red flag laws they've been successful in preventing crime and suicides,” said Pudup. “Two-thirds of gun violence is not crime. Obviously, it’s an issue, mass shootings are an issue, but two-thirds of gun violence are suicides.” 

Cuomo aims to pass all three laws within the first 100-days of the legislative session. 


Beth Cefalu

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