With Compromise In Sight, Gov. Cuomo Talks Gun Control In State Of The State Address

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In recent weeks, we've been following the Governor's actions regarding gun control quite closely. After the Newtown tragedy, Cuomo proposed a handful of measures to hopefully curb gun-related violence; one of which would be the strictest magazine clip ban in the nation. However, the momentum hit a wall in Albany, where Senate Republicans, after initially supporting the Governor's actions, refused to hear out the Democrats' proposals.

But, on the heels of news from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver that state lawmakers were '95 percent' done with a gun control deal, the state's top dog entered Albany yesterday to deliver his annual State of the State Address. His agenda included economic growth, the environment, Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, tourism and, most significantly for our conversation, gun control.

Although the issue didn't dominate the speech as most predicted, Cuomo's words reaffirmed the fact that he's gung-ho about passing this proposal - if he does, it'll without a doubt go down as one of his landmark achievements, in the vein of New York's same-sex marriage bill. But we'll let his words from the speech explain the current situation for you.

"And I say to you: forget the extremists. It's simple. No one hunts with an assault rifle. No one needs ten bullets to kill a deer," Cuomo said.

(As per usual, a transcript is not available to the public; instead, you can check out this 300-page report, appropriately entitled 'NY Rising,' provided by the Governor's office if you have the time here.)

The applause-ready line refers to the aforementioned magazine ban; a proposal that opponents think would lead to New York turning into 'Nazi Germany' because, as we all know,  Hitler was out to take away Second Amendment rights. In addition, the Governor extended the policy talk into the mental health factor. Inspired by the shooters behind Aurora and Newtown, the proposal that's moving through Albany hopes to give the ability to counselors to revoke one's gun license if he or she shows symptoms of violent nature. To supplement that, gun owners would be reviewed regularly to show that they are capable to handle a weapon.

In terms of the actual deal, Silver told reporters of the legacy at stake here: "New York leads the nation in everything; it's time we lead the nation in this." Apparently, the main linchpin for the Senate Republicans' approval was the crime issue. To address this, the deal has a few new features. For tracking purposes, New York State will create a universal licensing system for sales. Also, law enforcement officials will have a wider breadth of authority to end illegal gun trafficking - a crime that would now have stiffer penalties for those involved.

According to Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos of Long Island, the negotiations are going well; as a result, a deal is predicted to be done by the end of this week. Wait, politicians are agreeing on something? That can happen? Where are we?

We'll find out at the end of this week if this is too good to be true.

[jsurico15@gmail.com/@JSuricz]

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