Former Gov. George Pataki on Wednesday knocked New York’s new gun laws, saying he has “serious reservations that this was a well-thought-out bill.”
Speaking to Newsmax, a popular conservative outlet, Pataki said he believes the rush to pass the bill in January didn’t allow for an intelligent debate on the issue, a stance previously amplified by a number of Republicans in the state Legislature.
“I honestly thought the timing, the desire to be the first to be the first to pass a bill after the horrible incident at Newtown created a rush that really prevented some intelligent dialogue about the consequences of this law,” Pataki said.
Pataki—of Garrison, Putnam County—was in office in 2000, when he signed a broad set of gun laws that at the time were hailed as the strictest in the nation, including an assault weapons ban and a 10-bullet limit for magazines. (At the time, Pataki said he hoped the law “serves as a national model.”)
The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, as the new law is known, put into place a broader ban on assault weapons, as well as further restrictions on the capacity of magazines. It was championed by Cuomo after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and the shooting death of first responders in Webster, Monroe County.
Pataki said he believes the new magazine limit, in particular, goes too far.
“New York had already limited clip size to weapons in 10, a perfectly reasonable number,” he said. “They have now reduced that number to seven, which I don’t think is going to have any impact except making it far more difficult to access the appropriate clips for the weapons you might have.”
Pataki also spoke out against Cuomo’s plan to codify abortion rights in New York. Cuomo has not released his proposal yet, but it is expected to write into law a woman’s right to have a late-term abortion when her health is in danger.
Pataki, who is pro-choice, said he believes Cuomo’s plan “should be rejected.”
“I don’t think it’s the right thing to do. I think it’s the wrong thing to do,” he said. “I hope that the Legislature in its wisdom takes a hard look at this and decides that New York should not do this.”
UPDATED: Cuomo’s office fired back at Pataki’s comments, with an administrative official saying:
“Former Governor Pataki’s magazine ban left a gaping hole that rendered it meaningless. The SAFE Act corrects this. Also, he clearly either doesn’t know or understand the Governor’s position on his woman’s equality legislation. Nothing the Governor will propose would expand access to abortion but rather only codify existing rights under federal law and court precedent in to state law.”
The former governor didn’t bite when asked about the presidential prospects of both Cuomo, a Democrat, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican. Pataki himself has harbored presidential aspirations in the past, but has never officially thrown his hat in the race.
“Those decisions are very personal decisions. They might both decide not to. They might both decide they will,” Pataki said. “Governor Christie is running for re-election this year; Governor Cuomo will be running next year. I’m sure while they appropriately could have interest in the national political scene, they will be primarily be focused on those reelection contests, and rightfully so.”