Senate GOP pushes tougher gun laws in NY

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos during a press Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos during a press conference where Councilman Eric Ulrich, right, got the endorsement of Plumbers Local No.1 and Steamfitters Local 638. (July 26, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

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State Senate Republicans introduced proposals Saturday calling for tougher laws against selling and possessing illegal guns, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo slammed them for not including a ban on assault weapons.

The measures, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), call for tougher sentences for criminals who use guns while committing felonies, mandatory prison time for those who sell or possess illegal guns, and mandatory first-degree murder charges for criminals who fatally shoot emergency responders.

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"We need to target illegal guns so innocent people don't become targets for criminals who have them," Skelos said in a statement.

The Republican proposals come in the wake of the Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which gunman Adam Lanza used an assault rifle to kill 20 children and six adults inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Cuomo is trying to build support for his own package of gun-control laws, which Democrats say is likely to include a ban on assault weapons.

"Any gun policy that does not ban assault weapons ignores the reality of gun violence and insults the common sense of New Yorkers," Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said in a statement following the release of the Republican proposals.

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