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. GK

    How are all those existing gun laws working for the law abiding citizens in New York?

    January 10, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. i'malib

    Is this in any way going to hurt my receiving food stamps?

    January 10, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Johnny DC

    Ironic that the public is clamoring for action based on an emotional tragedy, and the resulting changes they are clamoring for will have no impact whatsoever on the kind of tragedy that occurred.

    Keep fighting the good fight, liberals. It's only our once-great country that you're flushing down the toilet with every issue.

    January 10, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. eyes open

    The only thing that has been overwhelmingly "liberal" about the second amendment for a while is the NRA's deffinition of "arms"! Everyone needs to get over themselves. NO ONE is going to take all your guns away unless they are ALL weapons of war. If that is the case, then maybe YOU have one of the mental illnesses that are at the route of the mass shootings! There is NO reason to have a weapon of war to defend yourself where a hand gun or shotgun can't successfully do the job unless you really are that incompetant with a gun which would mean you have no buisness with a fire arm anyways! As far as defending against "tyrany" get real! NONE of us stand a chance against the most powerful military in the world!!!!

    January 10, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. TheTruth

    It's already illegal for the mentally ill to possess, much less own, a gun. The military got around the small magazine capacity decades ago – they just tape magazines together. And New york's ultra-strict gun control laws haven't had the desired effect, even by Cuomo's own admission. Fact is, 997 out of every 1,000 gun-related crimes are committed by people that had no right to that gun in the first place (source: FBI Uniform Crime Report). And the famous Sullivan Act? Thomas Sullivan was head of the Irish mob in New York – he got himself elected to city council, then passed the law so ordinary citizens wouldn't interfere with his guys (by Sullivan's own admission – great example Cuomo).

    January 10, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    -just sayin

    ghostriter
    davecu, SC removed gun ban in Chicago in 2010. Violent crimes increased afterwards.
    ======
    a total lie. the gun ban only banned guns from the citizenry, not the criminals, that were alreayd armed to the teeth. so you are saying all of the people that got firearms legally suddenly turned into crimiinals? totally ludicrous.
    *****************************************
    Then name incidents in Chicago where an armed citizen was able to foil the criminals that are armed to the teeth. Since you seem to know everything, please enlighten us with details. Regale us with your truth, it should be quite amusing.

    January 10, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Johnny DC

    The great answer to this debate can be found by asking yourself one simple question – "If you could make ALL guns go away permanently, would you?"

    The liberal, uneducated and incompetent mind would jump at this offer. Yes! Absolutely yes! What a safe land this would be, with unicorns and rainbows and safety for all!

    In reality, this would elevate the strongest person to tyrant status wherever he goes. Criminals with knives and baseball bats would have their way, with nothing and nobody to stop them. The truth of the matter is that guns are the great equalizer, and the great protector. They are what stands between a family man and a gang of criminals. They are what compels the average criminal to cautiously select his prey, rather than without hesitation like a lion in the wilderness.

    When you come to the realization that the whole outlawing of guns ship has long since sailed, you'll understand that this is how it has to be. You can't gather up all the guns, and for the reasons above, you SHOULD NOT WANT TO.

    Likewise, criminals have semi-automatic guns that shoot dozens of bullets per minute. So should we, if we choose. A non-automatic pistol against 3 men with semi-automatic pistols is a dead man. Plain and simple.

    January 10, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. ProudDem

    @ Sean: your logic would be sound except for one caveat: sheep cannot reason and therefore, need a shepherd. Let's hope we've evolved beyond this. As a society, we cannot tolerate unacceptable situations whether these involve guns or any other menace.

    January 10, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Matt

    The Real Tom Paine

    -just sayin

    ghostriter
    davecu, SC removed gun ban in Chicago in 2010. Violent crimes increased afterwards.
    ======
    a total lie. the gun ban only banned guns from the citizenry, not the criminals, that were alreayd armed to the teeth. so you are saying all of the people that got firearms legally suddenly turned into crimiinals? totally ludicrous.
    *****************************************
    Then name incidents in Chicago where an armed citizen was able to foil the criminals that are armed to the teeth. Since you seem to know everything, please enlighten us with details. Regale us with your truth, it should be quite amusing

    ******************************************************8
    oh no...he called you out to provide facts...now is when you run away and don't respond. Thats what I do.

    January 10, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Jimmy

    "Wow...really! Then the heck with it...lets just let those kids in CT die in vain then..."

    An assault weapon ban won't eliminate the guns that were used to kill those kids in CT anyway.

    January 10, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Harvesting

    The U.S. Department of Justice reports

    Nearly 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year, or an average of 2,185 children reported missing each day.
    More than 200,000 children were were abducted by family members.
    More than 58,000 children were abducted by nonfamily members.
    115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. These crimes involve someone the child does not know or a slight acquaintance who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.

    Yet banning guns will keep kids safe? I think if we want to keep children safe we should address the issue from a how can we save the most.

    January 10, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Matt

    i'malib

    Is this in any way going to hurt my receiving food stamps?

    ---------------------
    Maybe, but the NRA is doing everything it can to make sure it is still easy for you to get a gun so you can rob a grocery store.

    January 10, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  13. kls817

    I would like to see penalties greatly increased for gun offenses. Gun ownership should be a right, but only for non-criminals and if you misuse a gun, there should be hell to pay. For example, people who shoot but do not kill people are let off very lightly. I would like to see those criminals who use their weapons against the innocent be sent to prison for a very long time, regardless of whether or not they are a good aim. Period

    January 10, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. ghostriter

    Johnny DC

    The great answer to this debate can be found by asking yourself one simple question – "If you could make ALL guns go away permanently, would you?"
    The liberal, uneducated and incompetent mind would jump at this offer. Yes! Absolutely yes! What a safe land this would be, with unicorns and rainbows and safety for all!
    In reality, this would elevate the strongest person to tyrant status wherever he goes. Criminals with knives and baseball bats would have their way, with nothing and nobody to stop them. The truth of the matter is that guns are the great equalizer, and the great protector. They are what stands between a family man and a gang of criminals. They are what compels the average criminal to cautiously select his prey, rather than without hesitation like a lion in the wilderness.

    This is the typical problem with conservatives. I have not seen one person posting or suggesting to take away all the guns. But, you conservatives need your straw men in order to make your argument.

    Bats and knives? So only the criminals will have access to these now? Highly doubtful. But even more important, how many drive by bat beatings have been recorded?

    January 10, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. Matt

    An assault weapon ban won't eliminate the guns that were used to kill those kids in CT anyway.

    ---------------------------
    But banning clips that hold so many rounds might have save a few...and if his mother, a responsible NRA member, gun owner, kept her guns lock up and away from her mentally ill son that might have help too.

    January 10, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. Bay

    But his idea of gun laws are not reasonable and balanced to me. Look you pick where you live based on likeminded people and he seems to be in a state that wants those laws. I have no problem with that but in my state a majority of people do not want those restrictions. Either way I am happy to already own a bunch of guns that might fall under future bans. I buy ammo a couple of times a year online to get a good deal. A friend of mine and I split the cost and ammo and I think based on discussions they will right will soon be infringed upon so stock up on ammo.

    January 10, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. Matt

    @Johnny DC

    Ironic that the public is clamoring for action based on an emotional tragedy, and the resulting changes they are clamoring for will have no impact whatsoever on the kind of tragedy that occurred.

    Keep fighting the good fight, liberals. It's only our once-great country that you're flushing down the toilet with every issue.

    --------------------------------

    I agree completely. Liberals should learn to do what we conservatives do...which is nothing at all. Just look at the 112th Congress as an example.. Eventually, we conservatives will just forget about these kids in CT and things will be fine.

    January 10, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "'It has been enough'"

    Pretty sure we passed the sign-post that said "Enough" on it a few decades ago.

    January 10, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. TheObserver

    Ahh, the American fascination with guns. All statistics indicate that in America, we simply have more gun violence because we have a much higher concentration of guns and gun availability. The next closest western nation is nowhere close, and I think that's Serbia. We have more guns per 100 people than SERBIA, which is a tumultuous country fresh off a war! These stats have been out there for a while, but we don't care.

    So here's the question for everyone, what's your number? Is it still important for civilians to retain the right to buy Bushmasters and AR-15's after 100 children have died at its hands? How about 1000 dead kids? How about 10,000? Is it still important for us to have the same gun rights as militias, only without the training? Is it important to have militias at this point? Are we still at risk of musket attack from the redcoats? Are you seriously worried about a ground invasion? Or maybe the zombie apocalypse? Or maybe, the more guns we amass, the more respect we think we command from people and the less likely we are to be slighted? Or maybe we're compensating for something else...

    I hunt, I target shoot, I shoot trap/skeet, but enough is enough. Guns don't kill people, people do, but the gun really really really helps. It's a lot harder to stage a mass knifing than a mass shooting with a semi-automatic weapon. If an armed criminal went into YOUR child's school today looking to wreak havoc and kill, would you rather he had a knife or gun? How many impulsive shootings and crimes of passion could have been avoided if the killer was forced to think a little bit longer about what he's about to do? How many sons and daughters would get a second chance at life if they couldn't find a gun to commit suicide during their most vulnerable and unstable moments?

    One last thought. Why are hand grenades illegal for civilian use? Because they are too dangerous and destructive for civilians to handle. Haven't we proven that statement true for guns as well? If not, then I ask again, how many more will have to die before you change your mind. In other words, what's your number?

    Is your definition of freedom everyone owning a gun? Does your definition of security involve more guns or less?

    January 10, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. Kev

    Eric Holder as the attorney geenral is the chief law enforcement office in the United States. Where has he been while all of this was going on?

    Oh yeah, he is the guy who botched Operation Fast and Furious. That was supposed to have been a sting operation where the Justice Department allowed fake buyers to purchase large number of AR-15 and AK-47 style rifles from gun stores in the U.S. and track them as they were sent to Mexico. Problem is the geniuses at the Justine Department loat track of the guns and they ended in the hands of the drug cartels. Many Mexicans and a U.S. DEA agent have been killed by the very guns that the Justice Department lost track of.

    It probably would not be a good idea to have the face of the incompetent Eric Holder associated with Obama's anti-gun campaign. It might lead people to believe the government does not know what it is doing.

    January 10, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. UDidntBuildThat

    @Kev

    Eric Holder as the attorney geenral is the chief law enforcement office in the United States. Where has he been while all of this was going on?

    Oh yeah, he is the guy who botched Operation Fast and Furious. That was supposed to have been a sting operation where the Justice Department allowed fake buyers to purchase large number of AR-15 and AK-47 style rifles from gun stores in the U.S. and track them as they were sent to Mexico. Problem is the geniuses at the Justine Department loat track of the guns and they ended in the hands of the drug cartels. Many Mexicans and a U.S. DEA agent have been killed by the very guns that the Justice Department lost track of.

    It probably would not be a good idea to have the face of the incompetent Eric Holder associated with Obama's anti-gun campaign. It might lead people to believe the government does not know what it is doing

    ------------------------------
    Kev,

    You are so right...this is all Eric Holder and Obama fault.

    January 10, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. UDidntBuildThat

    Is your definition of freedom everyone owning a gun? Does your definition of security involve more guns or less?

    -------------------------
    As a conservative, my definition of freedom is telling you who you are allowed to marry. and whether or not you can get an abortion.

    January 10, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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