Cuomo on gun violence: 'It has been enough'
January 9th, 2013
04:06 PM ET
2 years ago

Cuomo on gun violence: 'It has been enough'

(CNN) – Ban assault weapons. It's a call that's been trumpeted on the airwaves, in protests and in some TV ads.

But now it's coming from a high-profile governor, signaling what could be a major move in the renewed push for tighter gun laws after the Connecticut elementary school shooting last month–a massacre that capped a year marked by other high-profile shootings.

Speaking to a crowd of elected officials, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Wednesday the state must enact "the toughest assault weapons ban in the nation, period."

"Gun violence has been on a rampage as we know first hand and we know painfully. We must stop the madness, my friends," he said in his annual State of the State address. "It has been enough."

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence ranks New York as fourth in its list of states with the strongest gun laws, and the Empire State already has a ban on some types of assault weapons. But the Democratic governor, whose job approval ratings top 70%, argued more needs to be done.

His other proposals included closing a loophole that allows gun purchasers to sidestep background checks during a private transaction. Cuomo also wants to ban high capacity magazines, devices with 10 or more rounds of ammunition that can be attached to guns.

He urged the audience, which included state lawmakers and members of law enforcement, to enact "tougher penalties" for illegal gun use and pushed for stricter regulation on the sale of ammunition.

Cuomo stressed a need to "keep guns from people who are mentally ill."

"We need a gun policy in this state that is reasonable, that is balanced, that is measured," he said.

Cuomo, who's considered a potential 2016 presidential candidate, took heat from gun rights groups when he said in a December radio interview that "confiscation could be an option" in terms of reducing the number of assault weapons in New York. He has not made similar remarks since.

Opponents, however, were quick to pounce, arguing that Cuomo's radio comment represents the future of Second Amendment rights if gun owners don't fight to keep laws as they stand. Other critics argue that violence tends to increase in places that have tighter gun restrictions. The National Rifle Association, for example, says the solution to school shootings entails equipping every school in the country with an armed guard.

A petition to the White House asks "that Gov. Cuomo's attempts to violate our rights be stopped immediately." With more than 8,000 signatures, the White House requires at least 25,000 before it issues a response.

Cuomo, however, said "this is not (about) taking away peoples' guns."

"I own a gun. I own a Remington shotgun," he continued. "That's not what this is about. It's about ending the unnecessary risk of high capacity assault rifles."

Cuomo's comments come during a week of big-name efforts involving gun regulations. Vice President Joe Biden is holding meetings–including a sit-down with the NRA–at the White House to find recommendations for the president. And former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head two years ago this week, and her husband Mark Kelly launched a website Tuesday aimed at finding solutions.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an outspoken advocate for gun control, said in a statement after Cuomo's remarks that he "was particularly struck by [Cuomo's] passionate leadership on gun violence.

"New York State has led the nation with strong, common-sense gun laws, and the governor's new proposals will build on that tradition," Bloomberg wrote. "They will help law enforcement keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people and save lives. We strongly support his proposals to close loopholes and strengthen existing laws, and we look forward to working with him and the state legislature to adopt them."

In his address, Cuomo cited the state's Sullivan Act, the first-in-the-nation gun control law enacted in 1911, which required a permit for the possession of a handgun.

"New York led the way then," he said. "'Let's pass safe and fair legislation and lead the way once again in saving lives."


Filed under: Andrew Cuomo • Gun rights • New York
soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. corner

    he quotes the sullivan law which was passed by irish tmanay hall politicians to keep guns out of the hands of italians who were emmigrating here by the thousands....the federal swichblade knife act was also passed around the same time for the same reasons

    January 9, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F

    At work we have 17 signatures from people who want Wayne LaPierre deported to Somalia.

    January 9, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Awwww, poor CNN, looks like Christie's got his work cut out for him. Quick...better put up another Christie article, stat!

    January 9, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F

    Before the NRA became a right wingnut political action group, they were pretty good at gun education and gun safety. Some where, they lost their mission, and their leaders now have helped it to become a government hate group.

    January 9, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. Gurgyl

    It has been ENOUGH LOBBY BY IDIOTS. Pass Gun-Control laws. Ok. Do not play politics for GREED AND PROFIT. CANADA, GERMANY, AUSTRIALIA AND BRITTON are the examples. Obama–you have guts–you did HEALTHCARE. BCBS IS WORST THAN NRA. Pass it. God bless these kids in Connecticut.

    January 9, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. NVa Native

    Ok, so we tried not having any real restrictions on guns and now we have had twenty little kids and five teachers murdered in their school class room. Let's try some thing new – how about loosing some of those guns and try some meaningful restrictions..

    January 9, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. walleye46

    I believe the 2nd amendment should be upheld, but the WORDING of this amendment is antiquated and does not reflect the realities of the 20th century. Founding fathers could not foresee the technological changes that we now live with. Shooting hundreds of bullets a minute is quite different from when it took 5 minutes to load a musket. The principals of this amendment should be adhered to, but it needs to be updated to PROTECT the population from tragedies like Newtown and Aurora. I would also say that until a logical plan can be implemented and changes made there should be an IMMEDIATE ban on the sale of these assault weapons. No one needs this type of gun to hunt deer or pheasant.

    January 9, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. walleye46

    I wonder how these politicians would be voting on guns if it were there children/wives/brother etc who were killed at Newtown. Would LaPierre be as pro gun if it were his child.

    January 9, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. SeeThruIt2

    Maybe compromise with the gun rights group by limiting assault rifles to only ex-military or ex-police who have been trained in their use. Make them non-transferable to anyone other than licensed assault weapons sales stores.

    The wackos who use assault weapons in the killings weren't ex-military.

    January 10, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    If you change the word "gun" to "knife" in the Sandy Hook events, would we still be talking about giving everyone a "knife"? The 1st Amendment has common sense restrictions on it the reflect the changes society for centuries ago. Why can't the 2nd Amendment have common sense restrictions in keeping with changes in society and technology over the centuries?

    The biggest problem with the NRA and gun fanatics pushing for everyone to carry a gun is that they have not proposed not one piece of legislation. It's obvious that they would block and fight any common sense legislation. Are we going to let our country be dictated to by a small rabble of paranoid gun owners?

    January 10, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  11. Brckstone

    This is the United States of America people. Banning few rifles is not going to stop the violence and better yet, the black market is going to thrive promoting more crime and violate.

    January 10, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Why have Christian Conservatives been so silent? They've been completely absent from the national gun conversation. One would have thought they would have been one of the first groups to at least express some sort of sympathy. Nothing but crickets. They're worse than the Republican Party who didn't adopt a stance until the NRA defined it for them a whole week later.

    January 10, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  13. sean

    ok people want to ban weapons, that is wrong, when you outlaw weapons the only one to have the weapons are the out laws. im *NOT* a member of the NRA or any other organization like it. i belive that they should be harder to get not banned. only 323 or 3.07% of all weapon related deaths were from "rifles" and you cant call them "assualt rifles" because by deffiniton an assualt weapon needs to be select fire.. meaning that i needs to have auto/burst capabilities- the only type allowed by law(nfa) is semi-auto all they are are semi auto look-a-likes.
    fact of the matter is that more people are killed by drunk drivers every year than weapons total
    alcohol deaths – 9,337 = (us department of transportation national highway traffic saftey administration)
    weapon deaths – 8,583 = federal bureau of investigations (crime in the US)
    total vehicle deaths – 32,367
    do your own research folks find the facts! – 2 of the last 3 incidents this year the guns were stolen no check could have stoped that – im all for tougher background checks and no sale without one – but "rifles" are not the problem its criminals with the guns that are the problem-

    January 10, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  14. Steve, New York City

    This debate will all boil down to whether Washington cares more about rich lobbyists than they do about the American people. I'm afraid that the rich lobbyists are going to win, as usual. Further down the toilet we go.

    January 10, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  15. Dennis Freeman

    We need to do to the gun and ammunition industries what has been done to the tobacco industry, and in many ways, drinking and driving – relentless and unyielding efforts to ban, enforce and educate. It will be a long but worthwhile campaign.

    January 10, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Brckstone

    This is the United States of America people. Banning few rifles is not going to stop the violence and better yet, the black market is going to thrive promoting more crime and violate.
    ---------------
    The major flaw in your argument is that laws in other countries have demonstrated that it is effective. Your beliefs outweight the facts.

    January 10, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  17. N&W 1000

    NY ALREADY has the strictest gun laws, and it is not safe there.

    All the gun control advocates do is, turn innocent people into targets.

    Homicidal mass murderers kill innocents; gun control advocates enable them to do their wicked deeds.

    January 10, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  18. N&W 1000

    Prohibition STOPPED alcohol abuse; it resulted in NO crime, etc....right?

    Drunk Driving laws have STOPPED deaths caused by drunk driving, right??

    No.

    January 10, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  19. JCK

    Forget Obama Phone, I want Obama Gun like they get in Mexico!

    January 10, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  20. Realityblowz

    Shall not be infringed. Laws violating the Amendments are treasonous. Treason is punishable by?......

    January 10, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  21. bfpiercelk

    "We need a gun policy in this state that is reasonable, that is balanced, that is measured,"

    We already have that in this state... background checks at gun shows, waiting period, ban on all automatic weapons and some semi automatic weapons. Was there a mass shooting in NY that I missed or something?

    January 10, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  22. Alan DeGolmon

    Hey – New York isn't my state.

    As a Conservative Republican, I believe in State's Rights. If the people in New York agree to a ban on guns, that's their business – not my business in my state.

    January 10, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    sean wrote:

    do your own research folks find the facts! – 2 of the last 3 incidents this year the guns were stolen no check could have stoped that – im all for tougher background checks and no sale without one – but "rifles" are not the problem its criminals with the guns that are the problem-
    ----------------
    What "incidents" are you talking about? The guns used in the most horrific incidents were legally purchased. The weapons you that accuse "criminals" of stealing were all arguably legally purchased.

    I am forced to point out to you that all of these "legally purchased" weapons were not purchased by extremists who desire to take away any and all guns. They purchased by gun owners, who by self proclamation have deemed themselves to be able and expert enough to control and self regulate their weapons.

    How is it that criminals can steal your guns anyway? Aren't you folks supposed to blow them away before anything like that could happen? Don't you own the guns so that no one can break in and steal them from you? Your beliefs outweigh the facts.

    January 10, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    bfpiercelk

    "We need a gun policy in this state that is reasonable, that is balanced, that is measured,"

    We already have that in this state... background checks at gun shows, waiting period, ban on all automatic weapons and some semi automatic weapons. Was there a mass shooting in NY that I missed or something?
    -------------
    You've missed out on a lot. While you've been sailing on the gun lover's boat, reality has set in. More than 80% of the guns used in NYC violent gun crimes were purchased out of state, most of which come from Virginia. Of the remaining 20%, it is usually a case of domestic violence where one family member turns on another with the family gun.

    January 10, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    -N&W 1000

    Prohibition STOPPED alcohol abuse; it resulted in NO crime, etc....right?

    Drunk Driving laws have STOPPED deaths caused by drunk driving, right??

    No.
    ************************************
    Based on your logic, have treason laws prevented people from betraying our country? Since environmental regs have not worked 100%, can we dump toxic waste on your lawn with impunity?

    January 10, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
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