By Jon Campbell, Albany Bureau
ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday called for the "toughest assault weapon ban in the nation," using his State of the State address to lay out a seven-point plan for reforming New York's gun laws.
Using a mix of specific proposals and broad language, Cuomo said the state must end "the risk of unnecessary, high-capacity assault rifles" without targeting hunters and sportsmen.
"Gun violence has been on a rampage as we know firsthand and we know painfully," said Cuomo, who owns a Remington shotgun. "We must stop the madness, my friends, and in one word, it's just enough. It has been enough."
Cuomo's plan calls for a ban of all magazines with a capacity of more than 10. Currently, high-capacity magazines are banned in New York unless they were manufactured before 1994.
The Democratic governor did not lay out specifics for what an acceptable assault-weapons ban would entail. The state's current ban includes semi-automatic rifles, but only if they include a certain combination of accessories such as a bayonet and a flash suppressor.
"We need a gun policy in this state this is reasonable, that is balanced, that is measured," Cuomo said. "We respect hunters and sportsmen. This is not taking people's guns."
Cuomo has been in negotiations with legislative leaders over the past several weeks to reform the state's gun laws. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told reporters Tuesday that a deal on legislation was "achievable."
The governor's plan would also include require a background check for all private sales of guns. There would be enhanced penalties for possessing illegal guns -- though Cuomo did not get into specifics -- and reporting by mental-health professionals about the risk of their patients owning a gun.
His proposals would also bolster background checks and registrations for gun holders.
Senate Republicans last weekend released their own plan for the state's gun laws, focusing on bolstering penalties for gun crimes and illegally obtained firearms. The GOP has also pushed for a permanent form of "Kendra's Law," which allows courts to order outpatient treatment for the mentally ill.
The families of two Webster, Monroe County, firefighters who were killed in a Christmas Eve shooting were presented with an American flag by Cuomo prior to his address.