Lawmakers, Cuomo Negotiating Changes to Gun Laws

2:55 AM, Dec 21, 2012   |    comments
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By Jon Campbell, Albany Bureau

ALBANY -- Lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have had private negotiations on potential ways to bolster New York's gun laws, with a top Senate Republican signaling his conference would be open to changes.

Sen. Thomas Libous, the chamber's deputy majority leader, said a number of issues related to gun control and mental health are currently on the table. The Binghamton Republican on Thursday told WNBF-AM he's open to creating a statewide registry of pistol permits; currently, the records are kept at the county level.

"We have a county-by-county pistol registry," he said. "I'm not sure that makes a lot of sense. We might want to have some sort of a uniform registry statewide. "

Libous did not rule out the possibility of a special session in the coming days to pass gun-related legislation, but said it will more likely be taken up in 2013. Several reports indicated Wednesday that Cuomo could call lawmakers back to Albany before the end of the year if a deal is reached.

Cuomo's office has been in talks with the Legislature on gun-control issues following a massacre last week in Newtown, Conn., where 26 victims -- including 20 children -- were killed in an elementary school shooting. The gunman also killed himself and his mother.

A Democrat, Cuomo this week expressed support for closing loopholes in the state's assault-weapon ban, which contains exemptions for certain semi-automatic guns.

Libous said he would like to see some sort of a registry keeping track of certain mental-health patients with access to firearms.

"We're looking at mental health and maybe creating a registry. We're certainly looking at gun laws," Libous said. "I am a supporter of Second Amendment rights and I think we have to make sure that we don't do things that hurt law-abiding citizens."

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