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Cuomo, Senate GOP roll back some provisions of SAFE Act

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has agreed to suspend some

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has agreed to suspend some provisions of his SAFE Act covering ammunition sales. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

ALBANY -- In a rollback of key provisions in his landmark gun control law, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo agreed Friday to suspend sections of his SAFE Act covering ammunition sales.

Under the agreement with State Senate Republicans, New York will suspend indefinitely its efforts to require background checks for ammunition purchasers and to create a database of buyers.

The Senate mistakenly said Friday that the agreement would also will lift the ban on Internet sales of ammunition under the SAFE Act, but the memo of understanding released Saturday showed that the Internet ban remains in effect.

Cuomo pushed the measure into law two years ago, a month after the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings at an elementary school that left 27 dead, and had resisted calls to repeal or change the act.

The measure was popular in New York City and on Long Island, but it cost Cuomo much of his upstate and Republican support, which has contributed to his historic lows in recent polls.

Senate Republicans who sought changes in the SAFE Act declared a victory Friday.

Sen. James Seward (R-Milford) called the deal "a significant accomplishment" and "a victory for Second Amendment rights."

James Baker of the National Rifle Association called the changes "a step in the right direction to restore a degree of sanity after the SAFE Act's over-the-top demonizing of lawful New York gun owners."

Mike Murphy, spokesman for Senate Democrats who strongly supported the original SAFE Act, called the changes "outrageous . . . I guess we don't have the toughest gun laws in the country anymore."

Cuomo aide Rich Azzopardi downplayed the changes, saying that inadequate technology made it difficult to enforce the ammunition provisions.

Azzopardi said the ammunition background checks and database could be revived when technology improves.

The agreement was signed by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport).

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