Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a package of tougher gun measures into law Tuesday evening, immediately bolstering New York’s ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines while giving the state more power to confiscate weapons from the mentally ill.
The new law made New York the first state to enact tighter restrictions on guns after the Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown, Conn. It came after a month of negotiations in which Cuomo applied increasing pressure—both publicly and privately—on legislative leaders to reach an agreement.
“I am proud to be a New Yorker today. I am proud to be part of this government,” Cuomo said shortly before signing the bill around 5 p.m. “Not just because New York has the first bill, but because New York has the best bill.”
Cuomo was joined by three of four legislative leaders: Senate Independent Democratic Leader Jeff Klein, D-Bronx; Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers; and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan. Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos—who voted in favor of the bill despite criticism from party leaders—was not in attendance, though Cuomo said it was because Skelos had already left town.
Stewart-Cousins praised the new gun laws as “common sense.”
“We proceeded, one month after the tragedy of Sandy Hook, to say to the nation: It’s not acceptable to ignore the common sense things governments can do to stem gun violence,” she said.
The approval of the new gun laws brought swift pushback from both the state Republican Party and the National Rifle Association, which expressed “outrage” at the “draconian gun control bill that was rushed through the process.”
“Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature orchestrated a secretive end-run around the legislative and democratic process and passed sweeping anti-gun measures with no committee hearings and no public input,” the NRA wrote in a statement.
When asked about the NRA’s criticism, Cuomo brushed it off: “You can’t make everybody happy all of the time.”
(AP Photo / Mike Groll)