Tags: New York | Cuomo | gun control

Upstate NY Voters Not Letting Cuomo Tiptoe Around Gun Control

Upstate NY Voters Not Letting Cuomo Tiptoe Around Gun Control
(Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 24 October 2014 04:37 PM

New York’s gun laws passed after the 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Conn. so unpopular in upstate communities that resolutions have been passed denouncing them have become an issue in Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bid for re-election, The New York Times reports.

"The calculation when it was passed was people were going to get mad for a little while and then get over it," Stephen Aldstadt, the president of the Shooters Committee on Political Education, told the Times. "I don’t think people are getting over it."

Cuomo himself seems to tiptoe around the issue when he’s on the stump upstate, the Times reports.

"We said, let’s take those tough issues and solve them and show leadership," the governor said at one campaign rally in the Bronx, The Times reports.

"Let’s take the issue of gun violence, where too many innocent people have died, and let’s pass sensible gun control once and for all, and don’t tell me it can’t be done. I’ll show you it can be done. And that law is going to save lives."

But he avoided the gun issue altogether at a rally three days later in Buffalo, The Times reported.

In a poll conducted by Siena College in March, the Safe Act drew support from 63 percent of voters statewide.

But opinions varied significantly by region: 79 percent of voters in New York City and 63 percent in the city’s suburbs approved of the laws, compared with only 45 percent in upstate New York.

At a recent Long Island meeting of gun-rights advocates, Cuomo’s GOP opponent, Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive, slammed both Cuomo and the Safe Act, The Times reports.

"It literally made criminals out of law-abiding citizens overnight," he said. "Governor Cuomo took away your rights. Take away his job."

Voter-registration cards were placed on every seat, the Times reports.

"Y’all are on the front lines of defending our constitutional rights and protections," James Porter II, the president of the National Rifle Association, reminded the crowd at the same event, The Times reported.

Cuomo signed the Safe Act into law Jan. 15, 2013 – 32 days after the Newtown slaughter; it included an expanded ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as a broader requirement for background checks, and tougher penalties for gun crimes.

Gun control advocates hailed the act for, as Leah Gunn Barrett, the executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence told The Times, keeping "guns out of the wrong hands."

The act also aimed to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental illnesses by requiring mental health professionals to report to the authorities any patient who was likely to be dangerous; some 34,500 people are now barred from having guns, The Times reports.

But the laws, which made New York the first in the nation to pass restrictions in response to the Newtown shootings, didn’t completely work as intended, the Times notes, and gun owners complained the process moved too fast, resulting in legal and technical problems.

The requirement for background checks for ammunition sales hasn’t even been put into effect because the state doesn’t have a system for conducting checks, The Times notes.

And it’s not clear how well one of the most controversial elements the requirement that owners of firearms defined under the laws as assault weapons register them with the State Police is working, the Times said. Many gun owners said they’d refuse to comply and the State Police have refused to say how many gun owners have registered, the Times reported.

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Politics
New York’s gun laws passed after the 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Conn., have become an issue in Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bid for re-election, The New York Times reports.
New York, Cuomo, gun control
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2014-37-24
Friday, 24 October 2014 04:37 PM
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