NY poised to be 1st to pass post-massacre gun bill

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 15, 2013 at 1:04 am •  Published: January 15, 2013
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In another provision, a therapist who believes a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally would be required to report the incident to a mental health director who would have to report serious threats to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services. A patient's gun could be taken from him or her.

The legislation also increases sentences for gun crimes including the shooting of a first responder that Cuomo called the "Webster provision." Last month in the western New York town of Webster, two firefighters were killed after responding to a fire set by the shooter, who eventually killed himself.

Legislators wouldn't comment on the tentative deal or the provisions discussed in closed-door conferences.

"It's a tough vote," said Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous of Broome County. "This is a very difficult issue depending on where you live in the state. I have had thousands of emails and calls ... and I have to respect their wishes." He said many of constituents worry the bill will conflict with the Second Amendment's right to bear arms while others anguish over shootings like at Newtown, Conn., and Columbine, Colo.

A vote Monday would come exactly one month after a gunman killed 20 children and six educators inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

The closed-door meetings prompted about a dozen gun workers to travel more than two hours to Albany to protest the legislation they say could cost 300 to 700 jobs in the economically hard-hit Mohawk Valley.

"I have three small kids myself," said Jamie Rudall, a unionized worker who polishes shotgun receivers. "So I know what it means, the tragedy ... we need to look at ways to prevent that, rather than eliminate the rights of law-abiding citizens."

In the gun debate, one concern for New York is its major gun manufacturer upstate.

Remington Arms Co. makes the Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle that was used in the Connecticut shootings and again on Christmas Eve when the two firefighters were slain in Webster. The two-century-old Remington factory in Ilion in central New York employs 1,000 workers in a Republican Senate district.

Assemblyman Marc Butler, a Republican who represents the area, decried the closed-door meetings by Senate Republicans and the Democratic majority of the Assembly as "politics at its worst."

The bill would be the first test of the new coalition in control of the Senate, which has long been run by Republicans opposed to gun control measures. The chamber is now in the hands of Republicans and five breakaway Democrats led by Klein, an arrangement expected to result in more progressive legislation.

Former Republican Sen. Michael Balboni said that for legislators from the more conservative upstate region of New York, gun control "has the intensity of the gay marriage issue." In 2011, three of four Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote for same-sex marriage ended up losing their jobs because of their votes.

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AP Writer Michael Virtanen contributed to this report from Albany.