By Jon Campbell, Gannett
ALBANY, N.Y. - New York lawmakers were expecting a late-night vote
Monday as they near a deal on a package of gun-control measures.
spending more than three hours in conference behind closed doors Monday
afternoon, Senate Republicans emerged and signaled a deal was imminent.
conference is reviewing a number of options, and it looks like there
will be a vote sometime today," said Sen. Michael Nozzolio, a Republican
from Fayette, N.Y., in Seneca County.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon
Silver, D-Manhattan, said a draft of a gun-control package is currently
being finalized and sent to the printer.
When asked whether there will be a vote Monday night, Silver said: "I believe there will be."
think you take a look at what has happened over the years and in
Newtown, I think the faster we do this, the better off we are," Silver
The package of bills is expected to include a bolstered
assault-weapons ban that would remove certain exceptions that were
included in the state's 1994 ban. The size of magazines would also be
limited to a maximum of seven rounds -- down from the current 10 --
while penalties for gun-related crimes would be increased and background
checks on firearm purchasers would be expanded to private sales.
York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers have been in talks over the
state's gun laws since the Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown, Conn. A vote on
Monday would make New York the first state to pass tighter firearm
restrictions since the shooting.
But some Republicans in both the Senate and Assembly warned against moving too quickly.
Thomas O'Mara, R-Big Flats in Chemung County, cautioned against a vote
simply so New York and Cuomo can claim the mantle of being the first in
the nation to adopt tougher gun laws.
"It's certainly very
frustrating, but the governor has made this his priority issue and I
think the No. 1 concern of his is to get it done first, before anybody
else does anything," O'Mara said. "When we're dealing with issues of
Second Amendment concern or any constitutional concern, we should be
taking a greater and more thorough look at it with the opportunity for
discussion amongst all interested parties."
Democratic Leader Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, said he's "very confident" the
Senate will vote on a package of gun laws Monday. Klein's five-member
Independent Democratic Conference shares control of the Senate with
"I think that when all is said and done, we're going to pass a
comprehensive gun bill today," Klein told reporters. "And I think it's
important, and I think this is an issue that shows we can work together -
Democrats and Republicans."
Cuomo has indicated he would waive a
mandatory three-day aging period for new bills if the Legislature puts
the gun measures to a vote, Silver said.
About three dozen union
members who work at a Remington Arms manufacturing plant in Herkimer
County traveled to the Capitol on Monday, presenting lawmakers with a
letter expressing concern that a full assault-weapons ban could put them
out of work.
The Remington plant manufactures several types of
rifles, including the Bushmaster .223-caliber model used in Newtown and
Webster, N.Y., on Christmas Eve.
"We are asking you to not hinder
the growth of our employer, the opportunity of growth in the Mohawk
Valley with large and small businesses, and most importantly the jobs
that support the survival of our membership and their families," the
union, United Mine Workers of America Local 717, wrote.
Republicans, meanwhile, have pushed for tougher penalties for
firearm-related crimes as well as a mandatory life sentence without
parole for anyone who kills a first responder, a response to the
shooting death of two firefighters in Webster.
In a radio
interview, Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, the Senate's second-ranking
Republican, attempted to distance his conference from the calls for
tougher gun restrictions while emphasizing its push for tougher
"We're trying to get significant reform in the bill,"
Libous said on WGDJ-AM in Albany. "A lot of us understand that the
Second Amendment is being violated with the assault ban and it is very
difficult for us. So we're trying to do what we can to actually try and
go after the root of the problem."
In his State of the State
address last Wednesday, Cuomo called for the "toughest assault weapons
ban in the nation" as well as limiting magazines to a capacity of seven
bullets, down from the current 10.
"No one hunts with an assault rifle," Cuomo said. "No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer. End the madness."