Gov. Andrew Cuomo today dismissed criticism that the quick vote Monday and Tuesday to enact new gun-control measures was done in haste.
Cuomo issued a message of necessity on Monday to bypass the three-day waiting period for a bill to age. The Senate voted on the bill Monday night, soon after it was printed. And the Assembly voted yesterday.
“Anyone who says there’s been no discussion of gun control has been living on a different planet for decades. There is nothing in this bill that hasn’t been discussed for years and years and years,” Cuomo told reporters after a ceremonial bill signing in Rochester. “And in truth, the exact opposite is the fact: How many people have to die before government acts? How many more families have to grieve before government acts?”
Republicans and some good-government groups knocked the lack of transparency about the bill and the inability for the public to review it before it was passed. Cuomo made the argument yesterday that the bill needed fast adoption because of a run on guns that are now limited under the law.
Cuomo touted the bill in Rochester, just as President Obama was unveiling his own gun-control package in Washington. Cuomo said he went to Rochester first after the bill signing yesterday because of the shooting death Christmas Eve of two first responders in nearby Webster, Monroe County.
The law has a “Webster provision,” which provides a life sentence without parole for anyone who fatally shoots a first responder.
“The tragedy in Webster, although the pain will never go away and the families are in our prayers, we want people to know we understand what happened in Webster, it informed our discussions and the first responders who put their lives on the line every day should be protected by society,” Cuomo said. “And we think this law is going to go a long way to do that.”
He said the measures won’t affect law-abiding gun owners.
“This is about keeping guns out of the hands of people who are mentally ill and dangerous to themselves or others,” he said. “Keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. Increasing penalties for use of illegal guns.”