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New N.Y. gun laws ‘on fast track’
Closed-door legislative dealing assailed as ‘politics at its worst’
ALBANY, N.Y. — Only days after calling for an overhaul of gun control in New York in the aftermath of the Connecticut school shootings, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a tough proposal on gun control was ready to become law.
Mr. Cuomo said Monday evening that lawmakers had a gun proposal negotiated with legislative leaders. The Senate and Assembly were poised to vote on the law Monday night. Mr. Cuomo has issued an order dispensing with a three-day waiting period for all legislation.
The deal includes a tougher assault weapons ban and restrictions on ammunition and the sale of guns.
The provisions also would create a mandatory police registry of assault weapons and a more powerful tool to require the reporting of mentally ill people who say they intend to use a gun illegally.
“I think when all is said and done, we are going to pass a comprehensive gun bill today,” state Sen. Jeffrey Klein told reporters Monday. “I’m very excited about it. I am very confident we are going to vote on a comprehensive bill that will be agreed on by the governor, the Senate and Assembly.”
People familiar with closed-door negotiations told the Associated Press a tentative deal was struck over the weekend.
The tentative agreement would further restrict New York’s ban on assault weapons, limit the size of magazines to seven bullets, down from the current 10, and enact more stringent background checks for sales. Other elements, pushed by Republicans, would refine a mental-health law to make it easier to confine people determined to be a threat to themselves or others.
Senate Republicans also have included a further crackdown on illegal gun trafficking into New York, the people said. Most New York City gun crimes involve weapons illegally brought into the state, state and city officials say.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the deal will include ways for schools to use state aid to better guard against shootings.
“I think the message out there is clear after [the Newtown, Conn., school shootings] and to get us down this road as quickly as possible to basically eradicate assault weapons from our streets in New York as quickly as possible is something the people of our state want,” Mr. Silver said.
Mr. Silver said a registry of assault weapons will be created, grandfathering in assault weapons already in private hands. He said crimes using guns will get additional mandatory minimum sentences. “The solution is to get those assault weapons off the street,” he said.
The closed-door meetings prompted about a dozen gun workers to travel more than two hours to Albany to protest the bill they say could cost up to 700 jobs in the economically hard-hit Mohawk Valley.
“I have three small kids myself,” said Jamie Rudall, a unionized worker who polishes shotgun receivers. “So I know what it means, the tragedy … we need to look at ways to prevent that, rather than eliminate the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
“We’re here about jobs,” said union organizer Frank “Rusty” Brown.
Assemblyman Marc Butler, a Republican who represents the area, decried the closed-door meetings over the politically sensitive issue by Senate Republicans and the Democratic majority of the Assembly as “politics at its worst.”
By Donald Lambro
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