Cuomo proposes NY as national model for stricter gun laws in State of the State

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EMILY ANNE EPSTEIN/METRO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo waded into the gun-control conversation today during his State of the State address, sketching an outline of stricter rules for firearm licensing and magazines.

The governor stressed in this afternoon’s speech in Albany, at times raising his voice, that New York should be an example leading the nation toward more stringent gun laws.

“Set an example for the rest of the nation,” he told the audience of legislators.

“We are proposing today common-sense measures,” he added. “It’s simple. No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer.”

He emphasized that he was not proposing stripping firearms from New Yorkers.

“This is not taking away people’s guns,” he said, adding that he too is a gun owner. “It is about ending unnecessary risk of high-capacity assault rifles.”

New York’s existing assault weapons law is “riddled with loopholes,” he said in an outline of his proposals sent before the speech.

For example, the state bans magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds of ammunition but exempts those created before 1994, according to the outline. But magazines do not clearly identify when they were created, making it difficult to identify and, therefore, enforce.

Private sales of guns should also include background checks, he suggested in the outline, something that is already mandated for dealer or gun-show sales.

His plan also includes stiffening penalties for people who illegally buy guns or use them on school property.

In the mental health realm, he suggested that a mental health professional should have a way to report when a client is likely to use their gun, so the authorities can remove the gun.

Another solution Cuomo put on the table was a statewide standard for licensing guns – right now, counties issue handgun licenses which are sometimes valid for life, not guaranteeing future checks to ensure the holder still should be cleared to own a gun.

Other proposals in the State of the State:

A bar exam-type test for teachers before they are certified
An “Energy Czar” to oversee energy issues in the state
A $50 million fund to encourage start-ups to stay in New York
The Taste-NY initiative to promote New York-made products
A national whitewater rafting competition held upstate
Extending the public school day
Providing a full day of Pre-K for high-need students
Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75
Recording on video interrogations of people arrested for serious crimes to help prevent wrongful convictions
Creating early-voting system in New York that is at least one week long
Making more readable ballots
Abolishing the Long Island Power Authority

Preparing for the next Sandy

The governor, who listened to a panel earlier this week convened to suggest ways the state could be better prepared for the next storm, said that New York needs to take steps for storm preparedness. He said he will work to make the harbor, and the subway system, more resilient. He suggested roll-down doors for the subways, along with inflatable “bladders” that can blow up to block an entrance. After the gas crisis following the storm, he suggested that gas stations should be required to have back-up power capacity. He also wants to create a statewide volunteer corps that would receive training in order to volunteer if a disaster hits. He also suggested rebuilding homes in a way that does not mean “we may well rebuild again two years from now,” showing a photo of a home built on stilt-like boards.


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