Gov. Andrew Cuomo is looking to make New York safer by proposing a seven-point gun control agenda, including enacting the toughest assault weapon ban in the nation, in his annual State of the State address.
Cuomo’s gun proposal would require follow-ups for owners of handgun licenses to make sure they are still qualified to possess a gun based on criminal and other records.
“Gun violence has been on a rampage as we know firsthand and we know painfully,” Cuomo said. “We must stop the madness and in one word it’s just enough, it has been enough.”
He is also proposing that when a mental health professional determines a person is likely to cause serious harm to someone, the person’s firearm license may be revoked and law enforcement could take the person’s weapons.
The governor is also proposing harsher penalties for illegal gun activity, a state check on all ammunition purchases as well as banning high-capacity magazines and direct Internet sales of ammunition in New York.
“We are proposing today common sense measures,” Cuomo said. “It’s simple: no one hunts with an assault rifle, no one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer and too many innocent people have died already. End the madness now.”
A deal in the works by state lawmakers could soon make New York one of the first states to pass gun control laws following the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican Sen. Martin Golden agreed Wednesday that closed-door talks brought all sides to within 95 percent of a deal.
Gun control advocates have the wind at their back since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. New York’s effort was hastened further by the Christmas Eve killings of two firefighters in Webster, N.Y.
But gun rights advocates say the answer isn’t creating new laws, it’s enforcing those already on the books and tackling loopholes in mental health regulations.
State Senate Republicans say they’ll fight any new measure that aims to tighten what are already some of the strictest firearm laws in the nation.
Cuomo also addressed other major topics in his annual State of the State which will set the stage for much of this year’s legislative agenda, although the Senate and Assembly majorities are deeply divided on issues.
The governor is stressing the need to fortify New York’s power and telecommunication systems after Superstorm Sandy. He would eliminate the Long Island Power Authority, which he said failed during Superstorm Sandy.
“Anything that will deliver better service and be more responsive for our residents who pay amongst the highest electric rates in the country would be an absolutely right step,” Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray told WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall.
Cuomo also said he would like to freeze utility rates for LIPA customers for three to five years.
“I’m just very pleased that the governor is focusing on an alternative scenario for us residents. It’s a monopoly and we are absolutely painted in a corner, we have no where to go,” Murray added.
The storm damaged or destroyed 305,000 housing units in New York and more than 265,000 businesses were disrupted in the state. More than 2 million customers lost power.
Cuomo said Wednesday that New York customers cannot afford to face catastrophic power losses every few years when powerful storms hit.
Cuomo has named a series of commission to look at infrastructure issues and is seeking federal funding to upgrade systems.
During his address, Cuomo lashed out at Congress for delaying providing federal aid to Sandy victims.
“This is an unprecedented situation in modern times where the federal government has not been responsive in the face of a disaster,” Cuomo said. “Do not play politics with the state of New York. Remember New York because New York will not forget.”
Cuomo also proposes to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.75 an hour, an idea he also pitched a year ago. Cuomo notes the minimum wage in 19 states, including neighbors in Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts, is higher than New York.
He also wants to make possession of up to 15 ounces of marijuana seen in “open view” to be punishable by only a violation and expand gambling in the state with three upstate casinos.
Source: 1010 WINS NY