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Republican senators like leader's plan on gun violence

By Lombardo David
Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Capital Region's Republican state senators like the approach to reducing gun violence laid out by their leader.

Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, introduced a plan on Saturday to curb gun violence by cracking down on illegal guns and creating stiffer penalties for people who use guns for crimes.

The plan was immediately criticized by Senate Democrats and Gov. Andrew Cuomo as being inadequate.

A full story on the proposal from Skelos can be found HERE.

Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said he was fully supportive of the proposal from Skelos. "I think it's an excellent place to start," he said.

In the summer of 2012, after talk of new gun control legislation picked up, Seward said new restrictions likely wouldn't pass the Senate. He was more optimistic about this proposal from Skelos.

Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, applauded Skelos for the plan, which he supports, but said now it's about waiting for a counter proposal from the Assembly and Cuomo. "This is all part of the negotiation process," he said.

Any compromise that includes microstamping, a process of identifying the gun that fired any bullets, would be troubling to Farley, who worries the process isn’t effective and could cause gun manufacturers to leave the state. In particular, he pointed to Remington Arms — which has a huge production facility in the Herkimer County village of Ilion — as a gun manufacturer that would be unable to afford to do business in New York if microstamping were required.

State Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon, described the plan from Skelos as a package of tough new laws. "I think this has great points to it," she said.

Marchione added that she couldn't support any of the proposals from Cuomo, which have included banning assault weapons and restricting the size of ammunition clips. The NRA is already wary of potential Cuomo proposals.

When moving forward on trying to prevent gun violence, Farley and Seward both said addressing mental illness was key. Earlier in the week the Senate Republicans unveiled plans in this area, which center around expanding Kendra's Law.

"That's a huge part of this situation," said Farley.

Seward added that a focus on reducing gun violence should include a review of the state's criminal justice system. Highlighting the man in western New York who shot and killed firefighters, he said that maybe that man should have already been in prison.

"Law abiding users are not the problem," Seward stressed.

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