Although gun control advocates–including the New York Daily News editorial board–have sharply criticized the U.S. Senate for moving forward with gun legislation that mostly just focuses on expanding background checks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is just fine with it.
“I think this is not perfect but it takes you 90 percent of the way–maybe 95 percent of the way–towards more rational gun laws,” Mr. Bloomberg said during his weekly WOR radio show this morning. “And the public is overwhelmingly in favor of background checks. A couple of the editorial boards thinks it’s not enough, but the public does and I do.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo said he’s unfazed by pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association and their lawsuits against New York’s new gun control legislation. Indeed, Mr. Cuomo took his argument a step further this morning and labeled the legal efforts “propaganda” and part of a plot to “misinform and scare people.”
“The extremists … spread fear and unrealistic theories of conspiracies of a citizenry that needs to be armed because the government is possibly tyrannical,” Mr. Cuomo said on The Capitol Pressroom. “You need a system and government regulations to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. … That’s what we put in place in New York with the New York SAFE Act. It doesn’t interfere with anybody’s Second Amendment right; … that’s not what the New York SAFE Act is about. That’s why they need the fear and they have to misinform and scare people because, on the facts, it makes total sense.”
As the U.S. Congress debates gun control legislation, two of the countries’ leading advocates on the issue–Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Michael Bloomberg–held a City Hall press conference today to pressure federal lawmakers to have enough “courage” to vote in favor of the bill when it hits the floor. Standing behind victims’ family members from last year’s massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, Mr. Biden and Mr. Bloomberg argued the measures being proposed are neither controversial or unconstitutional.
“There’s not one single thing being proposed–not one, not one , not one, not one–that infringes on anyone’s Second Amendment constitutional right. Not one,” Mr. Biden said. “Three months ago, a deranged man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School with a weapon of war. That’s what he walked in with–a weapon of war. That weapon of war has no place on American streets and taking it off American streets has no impact on one’s constitutional right to own a weapon.”
Yesterday afternoon, the course of the New York State Senate was altered when a faction of the on-paper Democratic majority announced they would instead form a power-sharing agreement with the Republicans, equally splitting control of the chamber in an “unprecedented” fashion. Although labor has been wary of the situation thus far, seemingly preferring Democratic rule, Transport Workers Union Local 100 called the new coalition-style government “the best possible option” for the state.
Although most of the attention last night was rightfully placed on the presidential race, a number of important state legislative campaigns were also waged, which, depending on how they turn out, could potentially have a significant impact on the legislation and policies that emerge out of Albany in the coming years. Notably, control of the New York State Senate hangs in the balance, and if Democrats win there, the party would control the trifecta of the state government as they already have an overwhelmingly majority in the State Assembly and a similarly aligned governor.
With one temporary exception, the senate has been continuously controlled by the GOP in recent years. Despite a large fundraising edge and an aggressive gerrymander which appeared to have locked in a Republican majority for the immediate future, a number of surprisingly strong Democratic victories pushed back against the conventional wisdom that they had no chance at reversing their fortunes this year,