By Tom Precious
ALBANY – With a deal possibly coming together in Washington to expand background checks for gun purchases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted the compromise federal package as watered down and far less comprehensive than what passed in New York three months ago.
Cuomo accused Congress of "fundamentally" failing to act on a broader gun control bill because of political fears of alienating "extremists" on the gun issue.
"We’re not talking about a significant package of gun control anymore. We lost that in the discussions along the way, and it’s a shame," Cuomo said of the looming federal gun deal under discussion in Washington.
Long gone from the table in Congress are such provisions as further restrictions on assault-style weapons.
"I think it’s a damming commentary on this Congress and the extremists in this Congress," Cuomo said today on The Capitol Pressroom, a public radio show.
Cuomo used the interview to highlight New York’s new gun control law, which includes limits on number of bullets in a magazine, tracking of ammunition sales, new gun registration requirements, bans on a whole range of semi-automatic weapons, and requirements that mental health professionals report to county agencies patients deemed to be a threat to themselves or others so that the state can move to confiscate their weapons. The law is being challenged in court by a number of groups, including the state affiliate of the National Rifle Association.
"You’re seeing a government paralyzed by extremists," Cuomo said of Congress.
He called the original gun control package pushed by President Obama "nice," but that it had to be "recalibrated" by the president because of congressional resistance.
Cuomo called the deal being discussed in Washington better than nothing. "But it’s only better than nothing," Cuomo said.