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NY Gun Debate Gains Intensity

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The legal debate over guns and the safety of New York's citizens continues at a fever pitch in the wake of the Herkimer horror, where four people were shot yesterday.

The Central New York tragedy and Wednesday’s refusal by a state judge to block New York's tough new gun law, have kicked the gun control issue into overdrive.

A Siena College poll recently found New York voters, by a 2-to-1 margin, support the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, which included a broader ban on assault weapons and lower limits on the capacity of magazines.

Downstate Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel is a staunch supporter of the NY SAFE act and a strong proponent of background checks – she says her heart goes out to Herkimer.

The NY SAFE act was pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who had sought the changes after high-profile shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Webster in Monroe County, New York.

Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, Republican of Glenville in the 112th District, champions Second Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Since New York passed the SAFE Act in January, 34 counties have passed resolutions opposing it, all of which are north of New York City.  Tedisco points out that it’s a tough proposition to get harmful weapons out of the hands of criminals without infringing on the rights of  people who own guns for personal protection.

Many law enforcement officials say they are not convinced the SAFE Act will make the streets any safer, and they believe the bigger problem to be the illegal handguns already on the streets.

Charlie Samuels with Saratogians For Gun Safety applauds state and national efforts to pass gun-control laws.  The Herkimer incident hasn’t affected plans for another gun show scheduled to be held this weekend in the Spa City.  Samuels says his group will be on the scene and plan to demonstrate on the streets.

The gun debate is far from resolved as gun crime continues and other issues including gun insurance and microstamping are likely to be scrutinized more closely in this year’s legislative session in Albany

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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