National Rifle Association President David Keene gave a rare post-Newtown interview on the Brooklyn GOP Radio podcast this evening in which he responded to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vow to bring New York some of the “toughest” gun control laws in the country. Mr. Keene began by taking issue with Governor Cuomo’s prediction that other states would follow New York’s example and pass similar laws.
“I was amazed that he said other states will follow New York,” Mr. Keene said. “They haven’t done that in the past, there’s no reason to believe that they will in the future.”
Mr. Keene continued by noting “New York already has very tough gun laws” and predicting Governor Cuomo’s gun control plan would not “make any difference one way or the other in terms of violence of any kind in the state.”
Putnam County doesn’t want to help the Journal News newspaper with its map of gun owner’s home addresses. To make the controversial map, the newspaper used addresses obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request for pistol permit records from Westchester and Rockland Counties. They made a similar request in Putnam, but County Executive MaryEllen Odell and County Clerk Denis Sant plan to announce their decision not to release the records at a press conference this afternoon.
Over the weekend, The Journal News newspaper published maps with the addresses and names of pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland Counties. The information for the map was legally obtained by the paper through a Freedom of Information Act request, but it sparked a nationwide controversy among those who considered the map a privacy violation. This morning, State Senator Greg Ball weighed in by proposing legislation to keep gun records private and prevent the publication of similar stories in the future. He also blasted “the asinine editors at The Journal News” who published the map.
“The asinine editors at The Journal News have once again gone out of their way to place a virtual scarlet letter on law-abiding firearm owners throughout the region. The immediate elimination of the information posted on the Journal News website is the only way we can ensure the safety and liberty of these New Yorkers,” said Mr. Ball in a statement. “This is clearly a violation of privacy, and needs to be corrected immediately. The same elitist eggheads who use their editorial page to coddle terrorists and criminals are now treating law-abiding citizens like level three sexual predators.”
After a week in which the debate over gun control dominated the political world, two first responders in Western New York were killed in a shooting. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced New York State Police and the State Office of Emergency Management are working with local officials in Webster New York after the shooting, which left two volunteer firefighters dead and two others injured after they were shot while responding to a blaze in the town this morning. In a statement, the governor called the shooting “horrific” and offered his sympathies to the families of those who died and were hurt.
“All of our thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of those who were killed in this senseless act of violence,” said Governor Cuomo. “New York’s first responders are true heroes as they time and again selflessly rush toward danger in order to keep our families and communities safe. Volunteer firefighters and police officers were injured and two were taken from us as they once again answered the call of duty. We as the community of New York mourn their loss as now two more families must spend the holidays without their loved ones.”
Earlier today, National Rifle Association C.E.O. Wayne LaPierre and other leaders from the gun group held a much-anticipated press conference to react to the ongoing controversy surrounding the shootings at a Sandy Hook elementary school one week ago. For those hoping for a grand speech, Mr. LaPierre certainly didn’t disappoint. In the address, Mr. LaPierre pushed back hard against those calling for additional gun control measures while accusing the media of being “silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators” in the violence. He also seemed to hold a host of other entities and events responsible, such as Hurricane Sandy.
“Violent crime is increasing again for the first time in 19 years,” Mr. LaPierre said. “Add another hurricane, terrorist attack or some other natural or man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization. And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal. There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like ‘Bulletstorm,’ ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Mortal Kombat,’ and ‘Splatterhouse.’…A thousand music videos, and you all know this, portray life as a joke and portray murder, portray murder, as a way of life. And then they all have the nerve to call it ‘entertainment.’ But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have risen to become the country’s chief critic of lax firearm laws, but on his weekly radio show, he argued that has nothing to do with the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, Mr. Bloomberg claimed to be the strongest defender of the Second Amendment around.
“I don’t think there’s anybody that’s defended the Second Amendment as much as I have, Ray,” Mr. Bloomberg said to a caller who asked him why he was “so against” the constitutional passage . “I think you have a perfect right to buy weapons and keep them for protection or for sport. We have tried to make sure that you have it. The Supreme Court says that there are–consistent with the Second Amendment–you can have reasonable restrictions, so, for example, you can’t buy a nuclear-tipped weapon.”
Andy Get Your Gun
Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed this week’s hot political topic, gun control, in his appearance on Fred Dicker’s radio show this morning and revealed that he is a gun owner. Specifically, Governor Cuomo owns a shotgun.
“My position is this…there is a balance here and I understand the rights of gun owners, I understand the rights of hunters,” Mr. Cuomo told Mr. Dicker. “As you know, I have a gun.”
Earlier today, President Barack Obama announced Vice President Joe Biden would be tasked with heading his administration’s efforts to reduce gun violence, an issue that he had not previously focused on. Directly asked about his relative silence on gun policy before the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school last Friday, Mr. Obama aggressively pushed back, telling ABC’s Jake Tapper, “I don’t think I’ve been on vacation.”
“It seems to a lot of observers that you made the political calculation in 2008, in your first term and in 2012, not to talk about gun violence,” Mr. Tapper began. “You had your position on renewing the ban on semi-automatic rifles that then-Senator Biden put into place. But you didn’t do much about it. This is not the first issue, the first incident, of horrific gun violence of your four years, where have you been?”
Guns & Ammo
In the aftermath of the horrific killings in Newtown, Connecticut, Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., the politically-connected private equity firm behind Freedom Group, the company that made the gun used to kill all 26 victims in the shooting announced they are planning to sell their investment in the gunmaker. In a statement sent out in the wee hours of this morning after Politicker reached out for comment on a story about former Vice President Dan Quayle’s connection to Cerberus, the firm attributed the decision to the fact “the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level.”
“We were shocked and deeply saddened by the events that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012,” the statement said. “We cannot comprehend the losses suffered by the families and friends of those killed by the unthinkable crimes committed that day. No words or actions can lessen the enormity of this event or make a dent in the pain that was inflicted on so many.”
Cerberus Capital Management L.P., the private equity firm that owns the company which made Newtown killer Adam Lanza’s assault rifle has extensive political connections. The company’s senior executive leadership team is stocked with political figures including former Vice President Dan Quayle.