Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans Thursday to increase gun control within the first 100 days of the new legislative session.
Cuomo’s intentions include passing the Red Flag Bill, which prevents individuals showing signs that they are a threat to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing firearms. The bill would also make New York the first state to empower teachers and school administrators to seek court intervention to prevent school shootings.
“The scourge of gun violence in our nation is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and we are not going to wait for the federal government to act on passing gun safety legislation,” Cuomo said in a statement. “New York already has the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, and we are taking additional steps to make our laws even stronger and keep our communities, and our schools, safe. Together, we will pass this common sense legislation and send a clear message to Washington that gun violence has no place in our state or nation.”
The legislation would also ban bump stocks and extend the waiting period on background checks from three days to 10 days.
“The 2017 Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 people demonstrated the deadly consequences of bump stocks, which can be attached to semi-automatic weapons to simulate machine gunfire,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
Current federal law requires gun dealers to conduct the NICS background check on a potential buyer prior to selling a firearm, which immediately provides the dealer with one of three possible notifications: “proceed,” “denied,” or “delayed,” according to the statement.
In the case of a “delayed” response, the dealer must wait three days before the sale is eligible to go through, even though the FBI continues to investigate these individuals past the three-day timeframe.
“Oftentimes, by the time it has been determined that the potential purchaser was, in fact, ineligible, the individual has already been sold the firearm upon completion of the three-day waiting period,” according to the governor’s office. “Extending the waiting period to 10 days would allow sufficient time to complete the background check and builds on legislative efforts to ensure that only those eligible to purchase and own a firearm are able to do so.”
Local politicians voiced their opinions on the announcement.
State Sen. George Amedore feels that Cuomo should be focusing his efforts elsewhere, he said Friday.
“The governor continues to further his political ambitions by pushing an extremely progressive agenda that threatens and infringes on the constitutional rights of all New Yorkers,” Amedore said. “What we should be focusing on is the root cause of increased gun violence, which is mental health issues.”
Assemblyman Chris Tague does not support the legislation, he said Friday.
As a lifelong gun owner I am a great proponent of the Second Amendment,” Tague said. “We already have some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country and I oppose increasing regulations on law-abiding citizens.”
State Sen. Daphne Jordan echoed similar remarks Saturday.
“New York state already has the strictest firearm laws in the nation, so Gov. Cuomo’s latest gun control push is pure political pandering to his far-left base,” she said. “The governor’s unrelenting assault on our Second Amendment freedom is something I and millions of New Yorkers strongly oppose. Our focus should be partnering with law enforcement to crack down on vicious criminals who don’t care about the law and use firearms in the commission of a crime. More Cuomo gun control is not the answer. As an FYI to the governor, a new federal regulation banning bump stocks is already slated to take effect March 26.”
Several Twin County residents reacted Sunday to Cuomo’s proposed legislation.
Marissa Vanderbeck, of Catskill, said she thinks more gun control is a good idea.
“That way kids couldn’t keep shooting up schools,” she said. “The last thing I want to see is our school on the news because some kid took their parents’ gun. We need better background checks.”
Karista Dallas, of Catskill, said she feels guns should be banned altogether.
“I don’t like guns personally — I think it’s a coward’s way,” she said. “We need to make sure they are properly licensed and people aren’t going to misuse them.”
Amanda Malmstrom, of Catskill, is a fairly recent New York resident.
“I moved from St. Louis, Missouri, eight months ago for a job opportunity,” Malmstrom said, adding that she supports Cuomo’s legislation.
“I think any increase in gun control is a good policy and should happen,” she said.
Jessica Willis, of Catskill, said she would like to see more research to determine how gun violence can be effectively reduced.
“I’m all for gun control,” Willis said. “But everything has been very reactionary. They’re not doing any studies on what is actually effective at reducing gun violence before actions are taken. There’s been no thoughtful approach from either side. It’s a big problem being used for getting votes.”