Cuomo-GOP Senate Deal on Gun Law Faulted as Doing Little

ALBANY (AP) -
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R) speaks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a news conference in June in the Red Room at the Capitol, Albany, New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R) speaks to Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a news conference in June in the Red Room at the Capitol, Albany, New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

The head of New York’s National Rifle Association affiliate said Monday that a gun control deal between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Republicans in the state Senate does little, and possibly nothing, to lift restrictions on ammunition sales.

Tom King, president of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, said his understanding was that the memo signed Friday by a top Cuomo aide and Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan would roll back some gun controls enacted in 2013. The deal was expected to lift the prohibition on direct online ammunition sales to New Yorkers and eliminate a database of ammunition buyers required by the two-year-old law, King said, but Cuomo’s subsequent comments show that’s not the case.

Cuomo’s office said Saturday that the database will be created when technically feasible and that the prohibition on online sales will remain in place until the database is established.

“It’s obvious when the facts came to light it wasn’t nearly as much as we were looking for. In fact, according to the governor … there’s nothing there,” King said. “Somebody either got out-negotiated or they’re just afraid of the governor.”

The memorandum of understanding signed by Flanagan and Director of State Operations James Malatras acknowledges technology now is inadequate to establish the intended database.

However, it also says no state money will be spent on it until the two of them approve the plan. That stipulation has upset Democrats — many of whom are suspicious of Cuomo’s liberal bona fides — who question whether the memo is even enforceable or just politics. The leader of the Democrat-controlled Assembly, Carl Heastie, didn’t sign it and said the law should be implemented as intended.

Republican Assemblyman Bill Nojay said that with their agreement, Cuomo and Flanagan have managed to anger both supporters and opponents of the 2013 gun law. Flanagan was elected majority leader earlier this year despite concerns raised by some upstate conservatives that the Long Island senator’s earlier support of the legislation, called the Safe Act, made him too liberal.

“This is political cover for upstate senators who voted for John Flanagan,” Nojay said. “…They have a lot of unhappy constituents who are asking why they supported someone who voted for the Safe Act. It’s no secret that there are efforts to find primary opponents to run against those upstate Republicans who voted for him.”