Cuomo on gun violence: 'It has been enough'
January 9th, 2013
04:06 PM ET
1 year 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. The Real Tom Paine

    -Realityblowz

    Shall not be infringed. Laws violating the Amendments are treasonous. Treason is punishable by?......
    ****************************************
    Laws found to be in violation of the Constitution are " un-constitutional", not treasonous. Use a dictionary next time. Gun control laws are not treasonous by any definition that a sane-wait, you're conservative. That explains it.

    January 10, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. rs

    It was utterly predictable that the NRA and their lacky Republicans are now standing up for the rights of murderers, killers, and criminals by opposing any gun controls at all. Our lives don't count to them, nor do our children's. No, no, the gun industry MUST make more sales, and the 2nd Amendment needs further perversion.

    And the GOP wonders why their popularity plummets among sane-minded people.

    January 10, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. rs

    walleye46-
    I agree with you. Unfortunately, reading the NRA robot responses here, some of these rubes actually think the 2nd Amendment is their ticket to the same hardware the military has. Sick and twisted.

    January 10, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. rs

    How sick are Republicans?

    In Arizona, their members are trying to pass guns' rights bills. Not rights for the gun owner, oh, no, rights for the GUN. They are trying to halt gun buy-back programs that result in the destruction of the firearm claiming that all "state" property must be sold to the highest bidder. They actually want unwanted guns back in circulation. All the while, their NRA handlers are trying to out-bid the gun buy-back program to "save the guns".

    If there is a way to be on the wrong side of every issue- the GOP has it.

    January 10, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. Future

    We have such ignorant governors and citizens. We do not infringe on our 1st amendment rights and We Do Not infringe upon our 2cd amendment rights....If this is done the liberals will chip away until you have none . That is the socialist way and why 1/2 the country literally hates Obama .

    January 10, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. Political nonsense

    There is no such thing as an assault weapon, that's a political term not a actual item. It's like saying we should ban Homicidal cars. There is no such thing, it's just something to say to scare people.

    January 10, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  7. rs

    Gun Deaths since Newtown (less than a month ago) in the U.S.= 695.

    January 10, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. rs

    Future-

    Really? Allowing sick killers access to guns IS THE SAME as free speech?

    Q: When has anything someone has said directly resulted in death?

    January 10, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  9. rs

    Political nonsense-
    If you can't discern the difference between automobiles (a transportation tool), and guns (things used to kill), you have no reason to be in this discussion.

    January 10, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  10. GrandOldPatsy

    2A rights are not about hunting
    2A clearly says "shall not be infringed"
    "shall" meaning: *must* e.g. "must not"
    Similar to the 1A, which respects free speech, and the 4A that protects you against unreasonable search and seizure, if you allow the government to violate these rights, any of them, you are in for a bad time.
    The 2A, as ruled in United States Vs. Miller, also allows for citizens to access and use military style weapons. Ever since the 2A has been written that was its intent, to allow citizens to be armed as a militia for personal defense against the government and foreign threats.

    January 10, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. Matt

    Why doesn't Cuomo spend the time, energy and resources to go get the guns from the gangs, drug dealers and other CRIMINALS?? Maybe because it's easier to infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens like myself.

    When these nut job politicians are done, common citizens will have absolutely no way to defend themselves. England took away the guns and look at the results: home invasions occurring when the resident is present are up dramatically. Kitchen knives are now used in more murders than any other tool – doctors are now trying to regulate how long knives are allowed to be.

    Any legislative effort to curb violence by taking away guns does nothing but grant rights to criminals. They live within the inverse of our laws and are empowered by any restriction the rest of us face.

    January 10, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. True Republican

    "The only way to stop a bad guy with a good is to have a good guy with a gun."

    -----------------------------
    This is the NRA's response.
    However, they don't present any ideas, or oppose any steps to prevent the bad guy from getting the gun in the first place.

    January 10, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. True Republican

    @GrandOldPatsy

    2A rights are not about hunting
    2A clearly says "shall not be infringed"
    "shall" meaning: *must* e.g. "must not"
    Similar to the 1A, which respects free speech, and the 4A that protects you against unreasonable search and seizure, if you allow the government to violate these rights, any of them, you are in for a bad time.
    The 2A, as ruled in United States Vs. Miller, also allows for citizens to access and use military style weapons. Ever since the 2A has been written that was its intent, to allow citizens to be armed as a militia for personal defense against the government and foreign threats
    ------------------------------
    I find it interesting that in all your descriptions of the 2A, you left out the part about "well regulated"

    January 10, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. True Republican

    @Matt

    Why doesn't Cuomo spend the time, energy and resources to go get the guns from the gangs, drug dealers and other CRIMINALS?? Maybe because it's easier to infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens like myself.

    ----------------------------–
    Yea Matt...that"s why...As long as we have people who think the way Matt does, we will never have balanced, common sense, gun laws.

    January 10, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
    ---------
    Two can play that silly word game.

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, ... , shall not be infringed."

    In other words, a standing army, or a "militia", for the newly formed United States shall be "well regulated", and it shall be comprised of citizens....not conscripts, not mercenaries, not unsupervised vigilantes.

    That is what the 2nd Amendment says. It is not a blanket permission for anybody and everybody to go to your local general store and outfit yourself like a special ops team member.

    January 10, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. Sniffit

    "and you cant call them "assualt rifles" because by deffiniton an assualt weapon needs to be select fire"

    Yammer yammer derp derp. The AR-15 is essentially the M-16 and the .223 caliber round was invented because the armed forces demanded a round that could pierce a combat helmet at a couple hundred yards and would maximize damage by failing to leave a clean hole/exit wound. Larger rounds were leaving clean holes from entry to exit and those are far easier to treat and survive than a smaller round that may not even exit the body, but instead is redirected by body tissue upon and after entry, "bouncing" around and maximizing internal tissue damage and bleeding. The mafia used 22s as execution weapons for just that reason: it stays in the skull and scrambles the brain instead of just hitting with such force it pops out the other side...sometimes with the bullets even fragmenting after impact with the skull (some even designed specifically to do so). Had Loughner used one instead of a Glock 9, Giffords wouldn't be here. So don't come at us spewing nonsense about what "really" qualifies as an "assault" weapon. These weapons, and particularly the rounds they are designed to use, are not made simply for "self defense" and "stopping power." They are designed specifically for "wounding power," to maximize the human death they are able to cause and to minimize the survivability of suffering a wound from them.

    January 10, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  17. rs

    True Republican-
    Quite so. In taking this tack, the NRA in inherently supporting the rights of killers to be armed with the most lethan weapons available.

    It simply makes no sense.

    January 10, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. Matt

    @True Republican

    The second Amendment achieves two things: 1) allow for the establishment of well regulated militia's, and 2) grants people the right to "keep and bear arms"

    These are mutually exclusive statements tied to one cause: protection of the nation and individual. Read the Amendment again:

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    There are two separate statements in there. To prove my point, replace "being necessary..." with "and":

    "A well regulated Militia and the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    Likewise, remove the part regarding the militia:

    "Being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

    Still makes sense but you would never lead the Amendment with a statement about a militia unless you intend the proceeding text within the commas to refer to it. The statement regarding the security identifies itself strictly with the Militia. Regulate it, whatever. But a second, exclusive statement grants people the right to bear arms and mentions nothing about regulation.

    January 10, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. operation fast and furious

    While the US government wants to take our guns away, they have no problem arming Mexican Drug Cartels and other terrorists. Look up Operation Fast and The Furious. This same US government also trained and funded (drum roll) Al-Qaeda. Remember those guys?

    January 10, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  20. Brett

    "Gun violence has been on a rampage": Without someone to pull the trigger, someone please tell me how a gun can be violent? Why isn't drunk driving (an ACTION) called "alcohol violence" or "vehicle violence"?

    January 10, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. Matt

    @True Republican

    What a wonderful platitude you have: balanced, common sense gun laws. You cannot define that for the life of you. I don't need a group of ignorant morons in Washington determining what I need to defend myself and my home with. Nor do I need anyone telling me the reasons I am allowed to own a gun.

    As long as we have people who think the way you do we will continue to have criminals taking away the rights of others. You would rather have a criminal with a gun than a citizen armed to protect themselves. It's easier for people like you to take my gun because I will offer little resistance to the law.

    Why don't you man up and go get some of these "illegal" guns off the streets in your city?

    January 10, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. JON WYATT

    We in New York State ALREADY have to abide by the toughest gun laws in the nation!! Yet 10 miles away from me,in the State of Vermont, they don't even need a permit to purchase a handgun, just a valid state drivers license !!!

    January 10, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  23. rs

    operation fast and furious-
    Typical un-informed Right-winger.
    F & F was about tracking 2 nd party gun sales made mostly in Arizona by homeless people and others for criminals and cartel members. The BATF wasn't "giving out guns" despite what the idiots at FOX say.
    Yes, the BATF lost track of those guns, and they wound up at crime scenes. But is that surprising? The BATF NEVER had pocession of the weapons, and the people buying the guns (using Arizona's lax laws) were selling them to criminals.
    Gun owners who sell or otherwise let their weapons fall into criminals' hand, the NRA (the front for the weapons industry) are at fault here. Get over it.

    January 10, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  24. rs

    Brett-

    26 people died at the school in Connecticut- more than died by guns in the U.K for the whole of 2012. 695 people have died since the Newtown Massacre.

    Guns have one purpose- to kill. The problem? There are too many of them, and they are too easy to get. Gun control as evidenced by the U.K and most recently Australia work. Stop defending murderers.

    January 10, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. MrAnonymous

    @ GrandOldPatsy
    2A rights are not about hunting
    2A clearly says "shall not be infringed"
    "shall" meaning: *must* e.g. "must not"
    Similar to the 1A, which respects free speech, and the 4A that protects you against unreasonable search and seizure, if you allow the government to violate these rights, any of them, you are in for a bad time.
    ------------------–
    In case you weren't aware, there are even limits to the 1st Amendment despite its use of the word "abridge", which is actually a more precise word than "infringe." The word infringe, synonymous with "encroach," implies a that there is a limit, or line, that cannot be crossed (think encroachment penalties in football). Abridge means to restrict or deprive. The 1st actually says that freedom of speech cannot be restricted, yet there are still restrictions to it thanks to Schenck v. US and Brandenburg v. Ohio. By using the word "infringe," the 2nd implies that there is a line you cannot cross, but you can move right up to that line without violating the amendment.

    January 10, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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