NY Senate Republicans want to change gun law

ALBANY – 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.

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.”

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.