Over the weekend, Republicans in the New York State Senate rolled out a plan to address gun laws, which received criticism from Democrats due to its focus on increasing penalties for illegal guns rather than restricting access to assault weapons. A spokesman for Governor Andrew Cuomo quickly shot it down, however, and Mr. Cuomo reiterated his position that the Republicans’ policy proposals are a non-starter at a press conference this morning.
“I don’t think their plan goes far enough,” Mr. Cuomo said. “I think it misses the mark, pardon the pun, to put out a plan that doesn’t ban an assault weapon with what we’ve seen.”
Mr. Cuomo went on to describe what he termed the “process” for pushing through a bill on a topic as “heated” as new gun control measures, which he described as lawmakers looking at which way the political winds are blowing and acting accordingly.
“These situations are always a process where a legislative body is sort of weighing the political pros and cons. They have to do it with a number of people,” he explained. “‘Gun control,’ call it what you want, is a highly politically contentious situation. It is polarizing on the political spectrum and we have the full political spectrum. So I think they’re going to have to make political decisions. Do they want to do something or not? I think this body–most legislative bodies–they want to get a sense for the atmosphere and the environment. They want to get a sense for how heated the opposition is, how heated the support is, and then they’ll make a decision. So I think there’s a process.”
Pressed on whether he’d take the gun control issue to the public if the Republican-controlled Senate refuses to pass policies to his liking, Mr. Cuomo, in a rather roundabout manner, said that is indeed his plan.
“We’ll do what I do every legislative session on every issue,” he said. “We take the priorities in the State of the State [speech] and then we communicate with the people of the state. I try and build political support. I believe if you have political support among the people, then the politicians follow. I think if you look at the track record we’ve had, that’s the way it worked. You introduce a proposal, everybody–legislative types–wait to see what happens. Does the balloon go up? Does the balloon go down? I’m blowing as hard as I can to make the balloon go up.”
Though he disagrees with the Republican gun control plan, Mr. Cuomo said he’s glad about the overall performance of the State Legislature at the moment.
“I’m happy with everyone,” he said. “I’m happy with the Senate Republicans. I’m happy with the Assembly. I’m just happy. Constant state of happy.”