At a press conference today at City Hall in Manhattan, a group of New York Democratic state senators called on their Senate Republican counterparts to pass tough new anti-gun legislation.
Queens State Sen. Mike Gianaris, who also runs the conference’s campaign efforts, has introduced a package of anti-gun bills, amid a spate of high-profile gun violence across the country, most notably in Colorado and Wisconsin.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said passing tougher gun laws will be a priority next legislative session, but the prospects are uncertain if the Senate majority remains in the hands of Republicans, who hold a narrow majority. Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver recently charged that, the “Senate refuses to budge.”
Still, State Sen.
Gustavo Rivera Jose Peralta struck a slightly more optimistic tone today.
“If the Assembly could pass a bill that keeps guns out of the hands of the violent mentally ill for four years in a row, with overwhelming bi-partisan support, I know we can do it in the Senate. I have no doubt that we can make this happen,” said Bronx State Sen. Gustavo Rivera.
Manhattan State Sen. Liz Krueger, meanwhile, blamed the holdup of anti-gun legislation on the heavy lobbying efforts of the NRA, which she termed a “sort of a pro-criminal lobby.”
“I would argue to you that it is because a small minority spending too much money on campaigns throughout the country…preventing the political will from moving forward to do the right thing,” Krueger added.
Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif sent in a statement in response to the press conference today:
“According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, New York already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Despite that, we agree that more can be done to combat criminals who use illegal guns, which make up the overwhelming majority of gun crimes in New York. It’s sad that Senator Gianaris is once again injecting politics into this debate, rather than working with us to get a result.”
Most Senate Republicans are from outside New York City, the location of today’s press event. One exception is Brooklyn State Sen. Marty Golden, a Republican who is catching heat from his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gounardes, for missing a vote in 2010 on gun micro-stamping legislation. That bill is supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has backed the Senate GOP’s campaign efforts, despite Bloomberg’s own fierce anti-gun efforts.
The bills sponsored by Gianaris include:
-Limiting the purchase of firearms to one per month
-Universal background check for all gun sales, even transactions between private sellers and buyers
-Requiring prospective purchasers to obtain firearm safety certificate
-Imposing 10-day waiting period on sale of firearms
-10-year retention of records of all sales of firearms and ammunition
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