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What you need to know for 01/20/2017

Cuomo gun law splits legislators along party lines

Cuomo gun law splits legislators along party lines

The Capital Region’s state legislators split along party lines on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sweeping new g

The Capital Region’s state legislators split along party lines on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sweeping new gun control law.

NY SAFE passed the state Senate on Monday night and the Assembly Tuesday morning, with Cuomo signing it into law Tuesday afternoon. Some of the provisions, such as limiting magazine capacity and closing gun-style loopholes, went into effect immediately.

Assembly members Phil Steck, D-Colonie, Angelo Santabarabara, D-Rotterdam, John McDonald, D-Cohoes, and Patricia Fahy, D-Albany, were in support of the measure. Santabarbara described the package as comprehensive and based on common sense.

“This is a balanced approach to combatting gun violence while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” he said in a news release.

That attitude was sharply contrasted by Assembly members Marc Butler, R-Newport, James Tedisco, R-Glenville, Tony Jordan, R-Jackson, Dan Stec, R-Queenbury, and Peter Lopez, R-Schoharie, who all voted against the bill.

Tedisco took to the Assembly floor Tuesday morning to decry the legislation, which he described as a violation of the Second Amendment. He said it was important to address the rash of gun violence that has plagued New York and the country, but argued that Cuomo’s reaction was not the right move.

Tougher penalties for people who commit gun violence on school grounds and new mental health protections are important, he said.

“I support our 2nd Amendment constitutional rights and I do not believe that something as important as our freedoms should be tinkered with to grab a headline,” Tedisco said in a news release, referring to Cuomo’s alleged desire to pass the first-in-the-nation gun control legislation after the Newtown tragedy.

While Republicans in the state Senate were divided on the legislation, Senators Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon, and James Seward, R-Milford, were united in their opposition.

All three voted against the package, although they felt there were some positive elements, including the mental health provisions and tougher penalties. Ultimately, they decided the weapon bans, registration requirements and magazine limits made it impossible for them to vote yes.

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