Gun Control Could Top State Lawmakers' Agenda

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New York already has more restrictive gun laws than many other states, including a ban on high-capacity magazines.

That doesn't include magazines made before 1994, which Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver sees as a loophole.

Silver says he also wants to tighten the definitions of what weapons are banned.

North country assembly member Addie Russell says the debate over gun control is not as simple as "just
ban the guns you don't like."

Russell gets low marks from the National Rifle Association, but she is a gun owner herself and says neither side gets it entirely right.

"This is complicated, because we're talking about our Constitutional right to have firearms and very legitimate reasons to have them, along the lines of sportsmen and women," Russell said.

"But at the same time," she said, "as a mother I  can't help but be impacted by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut."

Russell believes high capacity magazines like the ones used in the Newtown shooting will be one of the first things the Assembly looks at.

Russell thinks there is room to toughen rules governing how such clips are stored and argues the killing of two volunteer firefighters in Webster is proof New York's existing gun laws need to be enforced better.

In that case, the guns convicted felon William Spengler used were purchased for him by a neighbor.

"I think there's far much more work to be done enforcing what we currently have on the books," Russell said.

"We treat the purchase of alcohol by minors far more strongly than we do the purchase of a gun in the presence of a violent felon."

Silver told the Albany Times Union he and fellow Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo are pretty much in agreement on stronger gun measures.

It's not clear, however, what Republicans -- who control the state Senate -- will do.

 

Sunday, September 21, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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