Cuomo Hoping to Rush Strict Gun Control Before Anyone Really Notices

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Photo: Mike Groll/Corbis

With Joe Biden preparing to present his national gun-control proposals on Tuesday, Andrew Cuomo is one step ahead of him. The New York governor is already quite close to finalizing a deal with state Republicans that would enact the toughest gun laws in the country, including expansions of the existing ban on assault weapons and mental health background checks. According to the New York Daily News, "The Senate GOP leadership, which is facing intense pressure from gun owners to hold the line, was looking to postpone signing off on a final deal until late Sunday or early Monday, so it could brief its members and vote quickly on the measure — before the gun lobby has time to scrutinize it."

"I can't see anything killing this," said Republican state Senator Martin Golden. "The deal is going to get done." (The New York Post's Fred Dicker contends that some minor disagreements may stall the vote beyond this week, although he doesn't even mention the possibility of defeating the bill.)

The proposal calls for closing loopholes that allow for older assault weapons; ending the sale of ammunition online; and limiting ammunition magazines to seven rounds instead of ten, among other regulations. "They're arguing over nothing, little nuances," a source told the Daily News. "But the bottom line is the governor is going to get the toughest gun laws in the nation."

The New York Times has a survey of the mostly toothless opposition. "Downstate, we're a bunch of criminals," explained Harold Schroeder, a gun-rights warrior since after the assassination of JFK. "Upstate, it's a different story." He and his ilk, including NRA lobbyists in Albany, argue that Newtown is just an excuse to move toward banning guns, which was Cuomo's plan all along.

"The sole purpose of [the Second Amendment] was to prevent a dystopic government from taking over the population," Schroeder argued. "Sometimes you get accused of being paranoid, but if you watch history, no republic or democracy has ever gone to a totalitarian form of government without first disarming the populace." In this case, he won't have much time to warn his brethren.