Today’s political hot topic, gun control, reared its head when Governor Andrew Cuomo took questions from reporters after a press conference this morning about a new plan to avoid Thruway toll hikes for trucks. Mr. Cuomo told reporters this morning that the solution to gun violence lies with federal rather than state gun control laws. The governor described New York’s gun laws as “some of the toughest” in the nation, but he also argued tough gun laws in one state make no difference if laws in neighboring states are weaker.
“You can buy a gun in another state, drive several miles, and that’s that,” he said.
Governor Cuomo also discussed the federal Assault Weapons Ban, which prohibited the manufacture and civilian use of certain semi-automatic weapons, from 1994 until it was allowed to expire in 2004. If the ban is revived, Mr. Cuomo said it should also be strengthened because it focused too much on the “cosmetics” of weapons and did not include semi-automatic weapons manufactured before 1994.
When asked if he was now going to prioritize passing a microstamping bill, legislation favored by Senate Democrats that would allow police to trace gun cartridges back to specific weapons, Mr. Cuomo made no specific promises. However, he said he has “a number of proposals he was going to make” and hinted at a new gun control-related policy making an appearance in his upcoming State of the State address.
A crucial question in the gun control debate is whether political support exists nationwide and in New York to make any concrete changes to gun laws. Mr. Cuomo said public pressure in favor of gun control legislation could be “developed” and hinted he may work further behind the scenes to enact gun law changes he may think are necessary.
“I don’t come from the school of thought that you live or die by public will,” he said. “On some issues, to an extent, you can create public will…you can educate people. If they understood facts, they would be supportive of reform in this measure.”