Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — ALBANY — Jumping out ahead of Washington, New York state enacted the nation’s toughest gun restrictions Tuesday and the first since the Connecticut school massacre, including an expanded assault-weapon ban and background checks for buying ammunition.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law less than an hour after it won final passage in the Legislature, with supporters hailing it as a model for the nation and gun-rights activists condemning it as a knee-jerk piece of legislation that won’t make anyone safer and is too extreme to win support in the rest of the country.
“Common sense can win,” Cuomo said. “You can overpower the extremists with intelligence and with reason and with common sense.”
Local representatives roundly criticized Cuomo and the law.
Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R-144) said the “unvetted legislation” was a wasted opportunity and she chastised the governor for pushing the bill’s passage for his own political gain.
“It is very clear that our state – and our nation – need to take a serious look in the mirror and start talking about the deep-rooted problems plaguing our society,” Corwin said in a statement released to the media. “The subjects are difficult: mental health, criminal justice, and yes, part of that conversation needs to include access to illegal weapons. Yet, in lieu of having that conversation, Governor Cuomo tossed ‘transparency,’ ‘accountability’ and ‘openness’ aside to pursue his own personal political 2016 aspirations.”
Assemblymen Ray Walter (R-146), John Ceretto (R-145) and Stephen Hawley (R-139) all joined Corwin in voting against the measure.
Walter said he supports “reasonable” portions of Cuomo’s legislation that he said would stop criminals and individuals with a history of mental illness from obtaining weapons, but he “remains in strong opposition” to infringing upon the constitutional rights of law-abiding New Yorkers.