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Silver: State should ban assault weapons, enact other gun-control laws (UPDATED)

Posted By Jessica Bakeman On December 17, 2012 @ 4:44 pm In Other | Comments Disabled

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, predicts that his chamber will pass gun control bills this session, as it has in the past, he said at the Capitol Monday.

[1]Silver agreed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo that the federal government should take action, particularly in the aftermath of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Friday.

“We should ban all types of assault weapons, all types of magazines that go with them,” he said. “We have passed a number of bills in the New York state Assembly that have died in the Senate over the years, including assault weapons bans, including microstamping of bullets so we can tell the source—the guns that they came from, including requiring child-safety locks. These are all things that will save lives.”

Silver said it was hard to predict whether gun control legislation would be successful in the Senate next session, as it will be under a different leadership structure come January. The Republicans, who currently hold a 33-29 majority, will share control with the five-member Independent Democratic Conference.

“I would tend to think the incident in Connecticut over the weekend, last week—if that isn’t impetus enough to change that outcome in the Senate, I don’t think anything else will,” Silver said.

A spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, said in a statement Monday that now is the appropriate time to be mourning the lives lost in Friday’s shooting and comforting their grief-stricken families.

He also said he would support harsher punishments for those who use guns illegally.

“If there is a law that could have prevented this unspeakable tragedy, we should find common ground and pursue it,” Scott Reif, Skelos’ spokesman, said in a statement. “In New York State, the majority of gun crimes are committed by criminals who are using illegal guns, and therefore he believes we should take steps to curb illegal gun use by increasing penalties and enacting mandatory minimum sentences.”

UPDATE: Sen. Jeffrey Klein, D-Bronx, leader of the IDC, said in a statement Monday that he would support a ban on assault weapons, but that gun control isn’t the only solution.

“First and foremost, we need to make sure that we’re addressing issues of not only gun control, but of mental health,” Klein said. “One of the sad lessons we’ve learned from these tragedies is that these issues are deeply intertwined.

“Here in New York, I think it’s critical that we update our assault-weapons ban so that we can better protect New York families,” he continued. “That’s where I would like to start.”


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