Was the message of necessity invoked by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to hurry his tough new gun law through the Legislature in January without the requisite three-day “cooling off” period just an excuse to avoid the kind of heated debate that seems to have taken place since, the kind that probably would have doomed the legislation? Perhaps, but given what was going on throughout the country after the Newtown, Ct. shooting, the governor had a point.
In anticipation of tougher gun laws across the land, people were lining up at gun shops and buying assault rifles and large-magazine ammunition over the Internet like crazy. Inventories were being depleted faster than manufacturers could churn out replacements. And that was certainly the case in New York, where rumors of an impending deal between legislative leaders and the governor were rampant.
Thus when Cuomo announced he was invoking the message of necessity to sign the bill right away, lest continued heavy sales further dilute its impact, his position seemed defensible. And it still does, despite the small flaws that have turned up since the law came under scrutiny.
That many foes of the new law picked at that aspect of it isn’t surprising, but it’s as if they’ve forgotten that 1) the practice is in accordance with the state’s constitution; 2) it’s been invoked regularly by members of both parties (for less legitimate reasons); and 3) it still requires a majority vote by legislators. Those who say they were unsure of what they were voting on, or complained about the hour, should have drunk some more coffee, done some speed-reading, abstained or voted no. Perhaps the situation wasn’t ideal, but it was still their job to do it.
And as for the suit to overturn the law based on the way it was passed, we’re pleased that the judge stuck to the nuts and bolts of case law to reach his decision.