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NY Lawmakers Call For Crackdown On Illegal Weapons; Cuomo Says Proposal ‘Misses The Mark’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (L); Sen. Dean Skelos (R) (credit: Getty Images)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (L); Sen. Dean Skelos (R) (credit: Getty Images)

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Tragedy In Newtown

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for an assault weapons ban in New York state, following last month’s school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

Republican lawmakers in the New York State Senate unveiled their plans Monday to crack down on illegal weapons, but Cuomo said the proposals do not go far enough.

Under the proposal announced by Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos, new laws would impose tougher prison sentences for illegal gun possession, using illegal weapons for crimes or taking them on school property.

Cuomo said that plan “misses the mark” if it does not include an assault weapons ban.

State officials have renewed the call for stricter gun controls following the Dec. 14 Newtown elementary school massacre that left 20 first graders and six educators dead.

Cuomo has defined an ‘assault weapon’ as a rifle with a high-capacity magazine and other characteristics of military weapons.

Assault weapons defined as semiautomatic guns with extra military-style features like pistol grips and bayonet mounts are already illegal in New York state. But Cuomo said that definition has “significant loopholes.”

State law also bans large-capacity magazines that can hold more than 10 bullets and were made after 1994.

Cuomo is expected to present his gun proposal in his State of the State Address on Wednesday.

Skelos’ proposal focused on illegal guns, which he said are those mostly used in crimes in New York. He said last week that any legislative agreement on gun safety should also include a stronger version of Kendra’s Law, authorizing longer court-ordered mental health treatment for individuals who won’t seek help but are deemed to be a safety threat.

On Monday, Skelos spokeswoman Kelly Cummings said Assembly Democrats were jeopardizing an agreement on comprehensive gun legislation.

“The refusal of the Assembly Democrats to even consider putting in place tougher penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences for individuals who commit crimes with guns, illegally possess or sell guns, or to strengthen Kendra’s Law, is unconscionable,” she said.

Michael Whyland, spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, said that statement was false, and retorted that the Senate Republicans are beholden to the gun lobby.

“Assembly Democrats have been working with the governor for the past three weeks on a comprehensive bill that would ban assault weapons and increase penalties for illegal guns. This is simply an attempt by Senate Republicans to shift the blame for their refusal to ban deadly assault weapons,” he said.

Remington Arms Co. makes the Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle, like the model police say was used in the Connecticut shootings, at its factory at Ilion in central New York, employing 1,000 workers in a Republican Senate district. The factory makes guns for the military and police, as well as firearms for sportsmen.

Authorities said the gunman was 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who killed his mother at home first, using the semi-automatic rifle which she owned, before the school rampage, which ended when he killed himself.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)