Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said today that he expects significant changes to the gun-control law passed in January, specifically targeting the provision that lowers the number of bullets in a magazine from 10 to seven.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has indicated that the law passed Jan. 15 might face just some minor changes. Skelos, the Republican from Nassau County, said he would hope there would be more substantial changes.
“I think they are going to be more than technical,” Skelos told reporters of the changes. “I think we’re going to look at the size of the clips, a number of other issues – protections within your home.”
Skelos didn’t offer specific fixes, but he suggested that the change in the number of bullets in a magazine should be addressed. Gun owners and stores have criticized the change, saying that manufacturers do not make guns with seven-bullet magazines.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to outlaw them, and we’re looking at other changes,” Skelos said. “But we also have to live within the reality of what the governor feels is appropriate or not. I believe the governor is going to be pretty firm about the seven bullets, unless it’s in the home. And he’s going to be firm on the so-called assault weapon” ban.
The seven-bullet magazine was one of the key provisions of the law championed by Cuomo. He has argued that the lowered number of bullets in a magazine would help prevent mass shootings because it would require magazines to be changed more frequently.
Cuomo and Silver indicated last week that they would seek an exemption for Hollywood for the assault-weapons ban, saying that film productions may sometime require inactive assault weapons on set.
Skelos knocked the idea.
“I am not looking to protect Hollywood. I think the governor and the speaker are, but I’m not looking to protect Hollywood,” he said.
Skelos has been heavily criticized by gun-rights groups for voting in favor of the law. Assemblyman Bill Nojay, R-Pittsford, Monroe County, who organized a gun rally in Albany on Thursday, said in the New York Post today that Skelos should be out as leader.
“This assemblyman from Rochester, I really have no idea who he is. I don’t think I know what he looks like or have spoken to him,” Skelos said today.
And Skelos dismissed criticism of his vote.
“I think it’s very interesting as we’ve tried to expand democracy in the Senate and move away from three men in a room, people seem to criticize,” Skelos said. “It’s my position, and we’ve done it on other issues, is to put as many bills as we think are appropriate out for a vote. And people have the right to vote, to aggressively oppose it, to say I was absolutely wrong.”