Major Gun Control Push in New York Sends Gun Nuts and NRA Crowd into a Tizzy
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The New England Journal of Medicine just published a poll-based article finding these same pro-gun control attitudes nationally.
Upstate New York and northern New England’s gun owners occasionally have tried to politically influential in statewide election in recent decades—but with mixed results.
Vermont’s U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders was first elected to the U.S. House in 1990 in a campaign where the liberal Republican incumbent, Peter Smith, became the target of an NRA bumper sticker campaign after holding a press conference and saying assault rifles should be banned. At the time, Sanders said he did not support all the proposed new gun controls before Congress; whereas Smith had broken his pledge to oppose all new laws.
However, in rural Maine that same year, Democrat Tom Andrews ran for a House seat and won after saying he supported what became the Brady Bill—imposing a waiting period on new gun purchases in 1993. Like New York’s Andrew Cuomo today, he attacked the NRA for its hyperbole and fear mongering, and was elected.
The difference between those political fights several decades ago and today is that New York’s new law is very complex and has many requirements in it that have yet to be worked out or adopted as state regulation—such as how health professionals and public employees will report possibly dangerous people to police so background checks can undertaken and their guns possibly confiscated (although the state would pay the owners some compensation).
But those legal issues and fights are one thing, while the political posturing is another. It’s possible that the genuine grassroots opponents to Cuomo will overplay their hand—by letting the NRA coordinate their tactics and campaigns—which has also happened before. Indeed, these New York–based protests also may be intended for skittish members of Congress, who might back down from supporting the latest proposed new federal gun controls.