Senate GOP Wants to Change Gun Law; Cuomo Says No

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    TK
    AP
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders applaud after Cuomo signed New York's Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act into law during a ceremony in the Red Room at the Capitol on Jan. 15.

    Republicans in the state Senate under pressure from outraged upstate gun owners said they are trying to scale back parts of the landmark gun control regulations they helped rush into law after the Connecticut school massacre.

    But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said they aren't open to any substantive changes in the law that easily passed in the Senate, essentially killing the chance of Republican changes beyond technical fixes to the law.

    Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos said Monday that his conference is looking to change the law's limit of seven rounds in magazines that commonly hold 10. He said one possibility would be to lift the limit inside a gun owner's home.

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    Skelos said the Republicans will try to force substantive changes in an upcoming "technical cleanup" bill needed to fix errors in the legislation that was hastily passed without public hearings or review.

    "I think they are going to be more than technical," Skelos told reporters of the changes. "I think we're going to look at the size of the clips, a number of other issues, protections within your home."

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    Gun owners and their advocates argued the industry doesn't make seven-round magazines, a measure that gives supporters bragging rights to the most restrictive law regarding bullet capacity. New York's law as passed Jan. 15, a month after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, and before the Obama administration and other states made their proposals.

    "We're looking at other changes," Skelos said. "But we also have to live within the reality of what the governor feels is appropriate or not. I believe the governor is going to be pretty firm about the seven bullets, unless it's in the home. And he's going to be firm on the so-called assault weapon" ban.

    Cuomo has said he will support only "technical" corrections to his bill. Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, said through a spokesman Monday that he is not open to substantive changes.

    "The bill passed by an overwhelming margin," Cuomo said in a Monday evening news conference. "I think it's one of the proudest acts this New York state Legislature has passed. I believe it will save lives."

    The law created a rift among New Yorkers and split Republican senators. Many upstate New Yorkers have been critical of the measure, which is strongly supported in New York City and its suburbs. Most upstate Republican senators opposed the bill, while most Long Island Republicans supported it. A unified GOP could have blocked the bill in the Senate.

    The "cleanup bill" is needed because of errors in the original legislation.

    The errors include language that would make police officers' guns illegal, require written permission for police to go on school grounds with a loaded weapon and could stop the production of violent TV shows and movies in New York.

    The "cleanup bill" is the result of the quick passage of the law negotiated in private that avoided a chance for New York gun owners and the National Rifle Association to mount strong opposition. Cuomo had ordered a "message of necessity," which was approved by the Senate and Assembly, to suspend the usual three days' public review required by the constitution of all bills.

    Sen. Jeffrey Klein, the leader of the Independent Democratic Conference in the Senate who sponsored the bill, she he's proud of the law and is open to technical changes. Under the partnership the Republicans and IDC use to rule the Senate, the Republicans could block the technical cleanup bill to force more substantive changes.

    Two legal actions have begun that challenge the law on constitutional grounds.