Gov. Andrew Cuomo took issue with the suggestion that he’s looking to roll back a key provision of New York’s controversial new gun-control laws, insisting he and lawmakers are looking at nothing more than “technical changes” to correct an “inconsistency in the law.”
Cuomo faced a barrage of questions on the gun laws Wednesday after Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver revealed they had been discussing changes to a soon-to-take-effect limit on magazine capacity. The negotiations have been wrapped into the state’s budget talks, which have intensified over recent days as the Legislature attempted to come to an agreement before the end of the week.
The Democratic governor said he and lawmakers are considering a change that would allow the purchase of 10-capacity magazines, but would only allow them to be loaded with seven bullets in most cases. The January law includes an “inconsistency,” Cuomo said, which allows magazines to be loaded with 10 bullets at gun ranges and in competitions, but wouldn’t allow the sale of magazines with a capacity of more than seven after April 15.
“That is an inconsistency, because if I can have 10 bullets in a magazine when I’m at the range or in a competition, I have to be able to have a magazine that can hold 10 bullets,” Cuomo told reporters.
The Democratic governor was the main supporter of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, which passed in January and included the magazine limit and a broader ban on assault weapons. He’s come under significant criticism from gun-rights groups and firearms owners, who criticized the process in which the bill was passed — without any public hearings and with a “message of necessity” from Cuomo, which allowed it to come to a vote without a three-day waiting period.
Cuomo dismissed the suggestion that the “inconsistency” had come from passing the bill “in haste,” and said the potential change shouldn’t be interpreted as a roll back of one of the new gun law’s key provisions. When asked why the issue with the bill wasn’t spotted before it was passed and signed in mid-January, Cuomo said finding errors in law is a normal part of the legislative process.
“When you do a complicated piece of legislation, once it’s out and once it’s second-guessed and once it’s viewed in total hindsight, you will find grammatical errors, you will find confusing things in a bill,” he said. “The gun bill was worked on every day for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks.”
(AP photo / Mike Groll)