NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that gun violence must stop, and illegal guns must come off the streets once and for all.
“Enough innocent people have died,” Cuomo said. “How many times as a society do we have to see tragedy after tragedy before we act? It was Aurora, Colorado. It was Newtown, Connecticut. It was Webster, New York. One after the other, all making the same point that gun violence is taking too many young, innocent lives. It has to stop.”
Earlier this week, Cuomo signed the toughest gun control law in the nation and the first since the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre in Newtown, Conn. The bill was passed earlier in the week by the state Assembly and Senate.
“We have to get these illegal guns off the street once and for all. We need to get services in the community, and end the violence, and start the support, and that’s what this bill is going to do,” Cuomo said Saturday.
Under prior state law, assault weapons are defined by having two “military rifle” features spelled out in the law. The new law reduces that to one feature and include the popular pistol grip.
It also forces gun owners to renew their licenses every five years, stiffens penalties for using a gun in the commission of a crime and for bringing a gun on school property.
EXTRA: Read The Bill Here
“It’s time to act, and that is government’s responsibility to stand up and do something that protects the people in society, and not tell us why it can’t be done, but figure out how to get it done,” Cuomo said to thunderous applause Saturday. “And that’s what we did when we passed the New York Safe Act.”
Cuomo said he wanted quick action to avoid a run on assault weapons and ammunition as he tries to address what he estimates is about 1 million assault weapons in New York state. Meanwhile, CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reported State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli froze pension fund investments in commercial fire arms manufacturers. They are valued at more than $2 million.
The National Rifle Association responded quickly when Cuomo signed the law, issuing the following statement:
“These gun control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime. While lawmakers could have taken a step toward strengthening mental health reporting and focusing on criminals, they opted for trampling the rights of law-abiding gun owners in New York, and they did it under a veil of secrecy in the dark of night.”
Cuomo spoke Saturday at the weekly Saturday rally and radio broadcast by the National Action Network for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. The Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III have been among those who have praised Cuomo for initiating the strongest gun control legislation in the country.
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