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. sean

    GOP is for the rich

    No problem with using guns to hunt. What do you hunt with assault weapons?.....answer: People!

    ------

    actually there is nothing wrong with them for sporting either – and again its not an "assualt rife" its not full auto
    and check out the remington r-15 – looks alot like the m-16 – but is painted mossy oak camo, and it was designed for hunting.... does that make it better for you? having a semi auto to hunt is great for small game (fox's and smaller)

    January 10, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    I think insurance companies would be forced to jack up their rates at schools where there are armed guards, most especially those where the teachers and staff are allowed to carry concealed weapons.

    Does anyone know of any publicly owned (state, local, or federal) building where people are allowed to enter carrying concealed weapons?

    January 10, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. NotYoDaddy

    And then no one will ever die............................................................

    January 10, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    -jim

    the picture tells all.another new york person like bloomberg ,who stand up with hand and f inger in air telling others what they should or should not do.this is typical of these two people.they are mostly familiar with money,concrete,crowded people.their overall knowledge of the people and the country outside big cities is close to zero.therefore their feelings on any subject are just their feelings .they have little right to speak or lecture others outside new york.the news services insult most americans by quoting them so much.
    ******************************************
    Wow. What an ignorant comment. New York is a largely rural state: ever been outside of NYC? I grew up in a country in Upstate New York with fewer than 80,000 people, which is very conservative. Cuomo has a 70% approval rating because he has been willing to take on anyone who gets in his way, including unions. He has a long track record of doing what is best for the state, and to hell with party politics. Do a little digging before you make a knee-jerk conclusion based upon your own prejudices.

    January 10, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Larry L

    @Matt

    @Fair is Fair

    Matt – please read the comments from "Fair is Fair" on January 10, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am. I come to this forum as less of a "gun ignoramus" than you suggest. As a career Soldier of 34 years active duty, a former combat developer, avid hunter, gun collector, and amateur gunsmith I understand weapons quite well. "Fair" deserves a personal answer. You... not so much...

    January 10, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  6. Tom1940

    While "authorities", tell us "the government wants more gun control", they are ignoring the fact they are speaking to the "government". (i.e. We the People, etc).
    I am not in favor of more firearms control. I am in favor of more security against those who attack an unarmed, undefended society, in particular, the innocent, least able to defend themselves members of our society.
    Carrying the rationale of "gun control" over to "annual vehicular deaths", I am forced to conclude that "thinking members of the Legislative/Governing Class" want to ban all automobiles also. Is this true? Or not? Instead, we educate drivers of automobiles. License them. Make the cars/trucks, etc., as safe as possible and improve the roads and make every attempt to only allow those capable of safely operating a vehicle to do so.
    I want a reasoned, sensible and common-sense approach to this problem from the git-go. Not a bevy of bills, laws, regulations, and bureaucratic nightmare that at the end of the day – does nothing – again setting society up for another attack.

    January 10, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Peter

    All the politicians are after the law abiding people. Thjey should be going after the bad guys with guns. We need to enforce the laws we have and make the punishment for using a gun in a crime so severe you'd have to be out of your mind to use a gun. Use a gun in a crime get 10 years, shot someone get 20 years, kill someone you get life or the death penalty. That will stop alot of the crimes. Also, the newtown shooting, the mother was at fault for that. she had the guns and they were not locked up or secured with trigger locks. She had guns in a house with a kid who had emotional issues. that is where the system failed. 1 more, you never hear about the 5 or 6 that are killed every day in chicago. they have some of the hardest gun laws in the country. If the laws don't work time to change the punishment.........

    January 10, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Jack

    There are two types of gun owners. One owns guns for sport–hunting, collecting, target shooting etc. They tend to be flexible when it comes to regulations on gun ownership. The other type are anti-government folks who see a revolution coming and want to be armed. They are uncompromising because they are paranoid and delusional. They believe the U.S. gov't is out to get them personally. First, this is a democracy and we vote our leaders in. Second, any ragtag, overweight, bunch of grandfathers isn't go any match for drones, bunker busters etc. There is no "Attack of the Tomatoes" coming. If you really don't like our gov't you can either a) get active in politics, or b) go somewhere where they share your beliefs (probably Paraguay.)

    January 10, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  9. Canuck

    @Matt
    " Get a life and get your nose out of other people's business."

    I would say that trying to prevent mass-murder is everybody's business. You gun nuts come across as a terribly selfish and self-centered group.

    January 10, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Ferret out the BS

    If we never evolve we never move ahead. Our society and our laws must evolve to address the changing situations that we as Americans face evryday. We can not stay in the past. More and more of these incidents with mass killings are becoming more of the norm than an anomoly and we must change our views, our philosophy, and our ideology to meet this problem. We can not accept mass murder of our innocent citizenry as colateral damage to liberty and freedom.

    January 10, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. J Russ

    My understanding is that NY city already has very strict gun laws so perhaps that data could be examined and if it is deemed successful Cuomo could use it as a model for the entire state.

    January 10, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Jay D

    Interesting how all the pro gun people complain about the size of government and how they need to stop spending more than they take in. They don't want the governement involved in their business. Then listen to how they are all for an expanded mental health system and armed security guards in all public places. Sounds like alot of money and government intervention. You want better enforcement on guns laws then I guess you won't be oppose to tax increases to pay for all the new jails needed and the $30-$50k yearly cost to keep them locked up. Don't forget to vote "yes" on tax increases next time. The hypocrisy is dripping down the walls.

    "Good guys need to take away the bad guys gun". Then you will have the advantage. Until then not one of you could have saved the first victim in these mass shootings.

    January 10, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. v_mag

    Can anyone seriously entertain the notion put forward by the NRA that throwing gasoline on a fire will put it out?

    Can anyone take issue with the obvious fact that eliminating semi-automatic weapons will drastically decrease the death toll in mass murder situations?

    Who can explain to me why owning murder weapons is more important than preserving the lives of children?

    Frodo threw the Ring of Power into the fire. Let's do the same with the death toys. I don't care whose "Precious" they are. All the Gollum's be damned.

    January 10, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. K from AZ

    Go talk to Rahm and see how that is working out in Chicago!

    January 10, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. Dano

    Would the NRA would support a tax on guns & ammo to pay for the armed guards at the schools, or maybe agree to fund them from their own coffers?

    January 10, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  16. j

    Jack-

    Yours is a common tactic used when trying to turn a dialogue in another direction. First you attack your opponents credibility by saying their beliefs are crazy , then you claim that your own beliefs are the only ones that are reasonable. It has taken all kinds of people to get us where we are today ie. left, right, middle, crazy, gays, ufo nuts, feminists, ect ect. If a guy believes the apocalypse is coming and wants to arm himself (legally ) with a 30 round magazine, who is the government, or you, to tell hime he can't? You libs don't want the government telling two males they can't get married, but you want the government involved with the guy who believes something else. I am sorry my friend, but I am going to have to call foul on your line of thinking. Also, as I stated in my last post, let's all be honest and admit that the 2nd amend was NOT intended for me to go sport-hunting, collecting or target shooting (all great pastimes ) it was put in place so that we can bear arms against an overbearing government! Now the government steps in and says "don't worry Jack, we will still let you hunt", we'll just be in charge of where you buy your gun, where it is kept, how much ammo you can have, determining if you are "stable" enough to own one, where you can hunt, where you cannot hunt, how many guns you have, the make and model of gun you can have, how many accessories you can have on your gun, how many bullets that gun can hold..and so and and so forth. Hey also Jack, while I am telling you all of this I am busy spending your billions and billions in tax money to invent bigger and better weapons to "protect the country". Actually right now there is some high paid government scientist in a lab inventing better ways to kill people with germs, from outer space, with drones, submarines, ect. Even though I am doing all of that against a perceived threat that really never materializes, I am really concerned that you want a 30 round magazine for your "assault weapon". Now why the hell doesn't that make any sense to ME, a reasonable American citizen?

    January 10, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    j

    The 2nd Amendment wasn't crafted so I'm allowed to go duck hunting with my 6 shot remington pump shotgun. It was put in place so that the people (us), can protect themselves against a tyrannical government (them) if the need arises.
    ---------------
    You've twisted the intent. Yes, the 2nd Amendment was written to protect citizens from a tyrannical goverment. It was written at a time when there was no standing US army. Most armies of that day were owned and ruled by tyrants, who prohibited citizens from having arms of their own.

    The 2nd Amendment lays the terms for a militia "to protect the welfare of the country" by specifying the militia shall be made up of citizens who bear their own arms. The militia should not be comprised of conscripts, mercanaries, and foreigners, one which could prohibit citizens from owning their own weapons and participating in it.

    THAT, is what the 2nd Amendment defines. The right of free speech has had numerous restrictions placed upon it as technology and society has grown. There is nothing wrong with doing the same to the 2nd Amendment. Remember, it is not the anti-gun crowd putting weapons into the hands of criminals.

    January 10, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. brasstacs

    By far the most gun violence in this country is done by criminals shooting other criminals with illegal guns...and the guns they're using are not the semi automatic assault look alike types of rifles that's now being debated for gun bans..The AR type rifle ban that expired in 2004 was a dismal failure that didn't prevent anything..This is a proven fact and not a theory...On the other hand qualified security has been proven to work over and over....Our schools could immediately become more secure with a security program which was asked for by both President Clinton in the 1990's and the NRA in 2007 and again 2012. So we have gun bans which has been proven not to work and qualified security which has been proven to work...The answer is crystal clear....we need to crack down on thugs and to start a security program at our schools, just like we have in our office buildings,banks airports and many other area's in our society. And we need an upgrade of the sagging mental health system in this country. For the safety of the innocent, our politicians need to put their political ideology away and look at what will really saves lives.

    January 10, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. Olaf Big

    Way to go Andrew! Let's finally make the leap from 18th to the 21th century. In a civilized society you should not need an assault rifle to protect yourself, and even in the 18th century, the Second Amendment was not meant for that.

    January 10, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Oakspar77777

    Cuomo is a joke, along with Bloomberg who was banning soft drinks a few weeks ago.

    Banning all "assault wepaons" (a fictional term), even banning ALL rifles would stop less that 400 deaths a year (half of which are suicides). Of the 30,000 or so gun deaths, 1/2 are suicides, all but 1,000 are due to handguns, and 80% of the non-suicides are ethnic violence between young (15-35) black and latino males in the inner cities due to gans and drugs (a rather small sliver of the overall population and not one that represents many LEGAL gun owners).

    So, such a ban would save a statistically invisable number of lives. Of course, it isn't about lives. It is about politics, political points, and appealing to your base (while not alienating the NAACP who would have a fit if you went after the actual areas of urban decay with tough new laws and consequences).

    You would think for what they pay in taxes that New York could afford better representation.

    Furthermore, all gun violence has dropped steadily since the old AWB ended, and outside of those areas of urban decay the American People are as safe now as they were in the 1950s. Of course, don't let actual facts get in the way of your fear, paranoid reactions, and rhetoric.

    January 10, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Matt

    @ Larry L

    That's because you have no answer or response. Your argument is one that a child makes. You're wrong, get over it.

    January 10, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  22. j

    Your comparison in way way off. So using your logic, since the amendments were crafted in a time where there was no standing army, it shouldn't necessarily mean that citizens today should bear arms, correct? If we use that same logic than since facebook and twitter weren't invented when the founding fathers were around, they should obviously be banned because they never intended for information to be disseminated so quickly. What they really meant was that speech meant actual speaking in front of a defined group of people, which was common for the time..right? So why don't you call for the banning of social media under the same pretense as your gun argument?
    ----------------------------------------------

    j

    The 2nd Amendment wasn't crafted so I'm allowed to go duck hunting with my 6 shot remington pump shotgun. It was put in place so that the people (us), can protect themselves against a tyrannical government (them) if the need arises.
    -----
    You've twisted the intent. Yes, the 2nd Amendment was written to protect citizens from a tyrannical goverment. It was written at a time when there was no standing US army. Most armies of that day were owned and ruled by tyrants, who prohibited citizens from having arms of their own.

    The 2nd Amendment lays the terms for a militia "to protect the welfare of the country" by specifying the militia shall be made up of citizens who bear their own arms. The militia should not be comprised of conscripts, mercanaries, and foreigners, one which could prohibit citizens from owning their own weapons and participating in it.

    THAT, is what the 2nd Amendment defines. The right of free speech has had numerous restrictions placed upon it as technology and society has grown. There is nothing wrong with doing the same to the 2nd Amendment. Remember, it is not the anti-gun crowd putting weapons into the hands of criminals.

    January 10, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Oakspar77777 wrote:

    So, such a ban would save a statistically invisable number of lives. Of course, it isn't about lives. It is about politics, political points, and appealing to your base (while not alienating the NAACP who would have a fit if you went after the actual areas of urban decay with tough new laws and consequences).
    -------------
    Actually, the NAACP's charter prevents them from directly participating in politics. In fact, the NAACP has supported the mayor's efforts to curb violence and crime, in particular gun violence.

    NYC used to have a concealed weapons permit requirement with the 5 boroughs. This permit was above and beyond a regular gun permit. The permit has been in place for decades and decades.

    After some complaints to the NRA from some visitors, the NRA successfully challenged the law and won. The fact that the right wing wanted to challenge the law was not as surprising as the fact that the challenge seemed to run counter intuitive to their frequent "states' rights" arguments.

    January 10, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. rs

    Fair is Fair

    You know, McVeigh killed 168 and didn't fire a single shot. In fact, if I recall, he used common fertilizer and diesel fuel. Why haven't those been banned?
    _______________________
    Like maybe because fertilizer and diesel fuel have other uses?
    Guns, not so much.

    January 10, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. Sane in Maine

    What this dialouge on guns has taught me is that I'd better get some guns to protect myself from other people with guns – right? Why the hell don't we just go back to the old west – only it will be better this time because we can all wear big holsters with AK 47's and uzi's on the outside of our clothes. And hell, if I have the right to an assault weapon then where does it stop? Aren't nuclear weapons protected by the second amendment as well? That's nothing more than a very large bullet – right? Why shouldn't I have the right to protect myself and family with a nuclear weapon? This is all so INSANE!

    January 10, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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