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Skelos says he'll push substantive changes in gun law

Cutouts of Sen. Dean Skelos, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Cutouts of Sen. Dean Skelos, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver decorate the platform during a rally against the new state gun law. (Feb. 12, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

The Legislature’s top Republican said Monday he’s looking to make substantive changes in New York’s recently adopted gun-control law -- including tweaking the maximum magazine size.

Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said he’s not just interested in “technical amendments” to the law, as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Democrats have suggested.

“I think they [amendments] are going to be more than technical,” Skelos said. “I think we’re going to look at the size of the clips, a number of other issues, protections within your home.”

Skelos comments came a week after about 5,000 gun-rights activists rallied at the state Capitol, pressuring lawmakers to roll back portions of the law. Some activists called for Skelos to resign.

One Republican who voted for the law, Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore), now says he regrets his vote and wants to repeal the gun measure. Many Republicans have blasted the rush to act -- lawmakers had to vote on it just hours after the bill was printed.

Strongly pushed by Cuomo, the New York Legislature became the first to act in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. The new law, enacted 31 days after the tragedy, tightened the state ban on assault weapons, reduced the maximum magazine size from 10 to seven and boosted penalties for illegal guns.

Skelos said he saw no reason to outlaw 10-round clips purchased before the law was enacted. But he also noted Cuomo is likely to oppose large-scale changes.

“We also have to live within the reality of what the governor feels is appropriate or not,” Skelos said. “I believe the governor is going to be pretty firm about the seven bullets, unless it’s in the home, and he’s going to be form on the [ban on] so-called assault weapons.

Cuomo last week said he was open only to “technical” amendments, such as ensuring that law-enforcement personnel are exempt from the law. He said he backs giving movie and television companies exemptions to continue shooting scenes in New York.

Cuomo's office didn't immediately respond to Skelos' comments.

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