Tonawanda News

Columns

January 16, 2013

Gun bill is good, process isn't

Tonawanda News — Praise is partially due for Gov. Andrew Cuomo for earning passage of a new gun control bill in New York, though his bare-knuckle tactics to do it shut out public comment and gave fuel to critics who say gun control is about a political agenda and not saving lives.

Cuomo’s deal bans the sale of assault-style weapons in New York, which should be a no-brainer. The governor was right in his State of the State address that nobody needs an assault rifle and 30 bullets to kill a deer. These guns are meant to kill people, plain and simple, and they don’t have a place on our streets.

But Cuomo’s decision to ram the bill through the Senate and Assembly just hours after a back room deal was struck stinks of the same old politics that makes Albany seem so dysfunctional.

Cuomo told capital reporters he pushed the bill to an immediate vote because he wanted to prevent a run on sales of the high powered guns the law bans. He has a fair point. Gun sales have spiked in the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., with wary gun lovers rushing to buy up rifles they think are about to be banned. It’s a ghoulish reality that the death of 26 people has caused a spike in sales of the very same weapon, a reminder that human nature isn’t always pretty.

But Cuomo should have realized waiting three days for senators and assemblymen to read and debate the bill does more for democracy than preventing how every many sales would have taken place. Furthermore, almost none of the legislation goes into effect immediately, giving 60 days for most of the provisions — and for people still seeking to stock up on guns and ammo the time to do so whether the law passed today or three days from now.

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