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Cuomo Says Responsibility Of Gun Control Falls On Washington, Not State

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TWC News: Cuomo Says Responsibility Of Gun Control Falls On Washington, Not State
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The shooting in Connecticut has also renewed calls for tighter gun control legislation in New York State, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday real reform needs to come from Washington. NY1's Zack Fink has the story.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has always endorsed stronger gun control measures but he hasn't advocated for them these past two years the way he has for other priorities like gay marriage, a property tax cap and teacher evaluations.

On Monday, he explained why.

"I think that is fundamentally a federal matter because the guns transfer easily over borders," Cuomo said.

Illegal guns often travel up the I-95 corridor to be sold illegally in New York City.

But advocates for gun control say more can be done here, like strengthening the state ban on assault weapons.

"In all my time in Albany we have put a ban on assault weapons year after year after year. We pass it in the Assembly. It's common sense legislation," Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright said. "The Republicans in the Senate have historically not had the will nor the ability to pass legislation that would ban assault weapons."

Cuomo said he agrees with closing the loopholes in assault weapons bans, but stopped short of endorsing microstamping, a process that allows better tracking of ammunition, as a priority this session.

"I think he is going to have a whole package that he'd be interested in seeing and I'm sure microstamping will be part of it," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said.

In light of the Newtown shootings, Cuomo said New York should re-evaluate how it handles its mentally ill.

"We have to look at our mental health system. We made revisions to our mental health system over the years," he said. "We have to ask ourselves is it working for everyone and is it protecting society at the same time."

In a statement, a spokesman for Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos said if there is a sensible piece of legislation that would have prevented the Connecticut shooting, it should be pursued.

But, he said, New York needs to crackdown on illegal guns with stricter penalties and mandatory minimum sentences.

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