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Lawmakers may go further on gun control in New York

The package of gun control measures that state lawmakers are set to approve today and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign won’t be the last of the new Democratic majority in the state Legislature, officials indicated on Tuesday.

Lawmakers will approve bills banning the sale and possession of bump stocks, an extension of the waiting period for background checks, block teachers and other school employees from having firearms on school grounds and a “red flag” bill barring the possession of a gun for those deemed to be too dangerous.

“Today is the next evolution in this ongoing crusade and it will be ongoing,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference. “I don’t want you to think the job is over today, because it is unfolding.”

Lawmakers for now are not taking up other measures that have been proposed over the years, such as the microstamping of bullets, a bill that would bar the printing of 3-D guns and the requirement that guns be stored in a secure location.

Still, the measures being approved by lawmakers today are the most sweeping since the SAFE Act was approved in 2013.

“This is not an every six year exercise. The reality is we want to move things out quickly, especially things that have been hanging around for a long time, but we want to do it right,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who said some of the measures needed to be reviewed and changed before being considered by the full Legislature.

“We will continue to examine those and others and continue to move forward.”

At the same time, lawmakers may once again consider the adoption of an ammunition data base, a provision of the SAFE Act put on hold by Cuomo and Senate Republicans in 2015. A top Cuomo administration lawyer, Alphonso David, indicated on Tuesday the state was moving forward with developing the technology for the database.

In the Assembly, Speaker Carl Heastie has long been ambivalent about guns and has favored gun control legislation.

“I personally don’t agree with it, but I respect it,” Heastie said of the Second Amendment. “I just sometimes compare this country to other industrialized nations that don’t have guns and the amount of murders pales in comparison what we have here.”

Cuomo, at his press conference flanked by gun control advocates, said the “slippery slope” arguments against gun control do not apply since the SAFE Act’s passage.

“The horribles didn’t happen,” he said. “Hunters are still hunting. None of the horribles happened. But you have to build that confidence.”

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