Governor Cuomo is sending out mixed messages about his signature gun control legislation known as the Safe Act. After announcing a two-way agreement with Senate Republicans to refuse to implement part of the law on Friday, Cuomo's office walked it back late Saturday afternoon. State House Reporter Zack Fink sorts out the confusion in the following report.
Mayor de Blasio seemed to sum up the confusion over Gov. Cuomo's recent announcements about a law known as the Safe Act.
"We are all trying to understand what is going on in Albany on this issue," the mayor said.
In January 2013, Gov. Cuomo pushed through his signature gun control legislation in response to the Sandy Hook school shooting in neighboring Connecticut. The bill was seized on by critics on the right as a flawed piece of legislation that only cracks down on law-abiding gun owners.
One of the law's provisions calls for a statewide database to record all transactions involving ammunition. But on Friday, the Cuomo administration and Republican State Senate majority leader John Flanagan issued a memorandum of understanding - known as a MOU - saying they have the right to withhold the database's funding.
"It's an extra legal effort to try and give the Senate Republicans specifically veto power of a law that already exists,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris (D – Queens). “So it's clearly unconstitutional. It cannot supersede the state law."
Insiders say the non-binding memo was aimed at shoring up Flanagan's position as leader in the GOP Senate.
"The rollout on Friday can best be described as a debacle,” said Assemblyman Bill Nojay (R – Rochester). “It hurt the governor. It hurt John Flanagan, the leader of the Republican Senate. Most of all though, it hurt the Republicans who Flanagan and the governor were trying to help - which is the upstate Republicans."
Then on Saturday, Cuomo's chief counsel issued a statement walking back the statement, saying the administration plans to implement the database once the technology is developed.
Critics on the left say this is more evidence of Cuomo siding with Republicans.
"First, I'd say it's part of a pattern we are seeing with this governor,” said Bill Lipton of Working Families Party. “He is willing to sacrifice so many of the issues that progressive activists that the Democratic base cares about."
Democrats in the Assembly and State Senate are now looking at a possible legal challenge, since the MOU - while non-binding - gives the Republicans veto power over a portion of a law that passed both houses and was signed into law by the Governor.