With some Republicans under fire, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sent a thank you letter Monday to state legislators who backed his gun-control bill – acknowledging some could pay a political price.
“I understand the vote could cost political capital, the important ones always do …,” Cuomo wrote. “But I consider the cost an investment in the safety of our state and in our individual and collective legacy of public service.”
The letter went to 147 lawmakers, a Cuomo official said. Two weeks ago, the Democrat-dominated Assembly approved the gun bill, 104-43. The politically split Senate passed it, 43-18. Some Republicans have grumbled that the gun bill shouldn’t have been allowed to come to the floor for a vote, or, at minimum, split into separate bills. Instead, lawmakers had to vote up or down on a comprehensive bill that not only tightened the state’s assault-weapons ban and lowered gun magazine capacity but also increased penalties for illegal guns and added more background checks for buyers.
Members of the state Conservative Party, which is holding its annual dinner Monday in Albany, also have criticized Republican senators. Conservatives have been important backers of Republicans at the ballot at times.
The GOP is in a tough position on such issues because it no longer has a majority in the chamber. Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and 29 other Republicans have joined with six Democrats to form a “majority coalition” to control the flow of legislation. But Skelos now has to agree with Senate co-leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) about advancing bills. Republicans say they negotiated to include many anti-crime measures in the gun bill that Cuomo didn’t originally propose.
The state has set up a website to provide information about the new gun law.