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With eye on Supreme Court, Cuomo pushes state legislators to act on gun bill

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said President Donald Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh makes the "red-flag" bill an urgent priority.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks to members of

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks to members of the Congressional Black Caucus on July 21. Photo Credit: Louis Lanzano

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reiterated his call Saturday for the GOP-controlled State Senate to return to Albany to pass the “red-flag” bill, which is aimed at blocking dangerous people from having access to guns.

At a news conference in a Manhattan hotel with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Cuomo also spoke out against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. U.S. appeals court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, if confirmed, would vote to overturn state gun-control laws such as the 2013 SAFE Act, which bans assault-style weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, Cuomo said.

Kavanaugh’s possible ascension to the high court makes passage of the red-flag bill an urgent priority, he said.

“I want the New York State Senate to come back to Albany and pass the red-flag bill now, before the Supreme Court decisions are made,” Cuomo said. “I want to have an in-state law. I want to make it so they have to overturn a state law if they’re actually going to trample states’ rights.”

The Red Flag Gun Protection Bill would allow teachers, school administrators and parents to ask a judge to prevent people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others from buying or possessing firearms.

“You look at these mass shootings, you look at these school shootings and you hear the same story in every case: The teacher, the school will say, we knew that young person had issues. We knew there was a problem,” Cuomo said. “Parents will say we knew there was a problem. But they had no ability to do anything.”

The governor said the red-flag measure would allow teachers “to step in before the violence happens.”

The bill is one of the “critical measures that will keep guns away from our communities and those who may cause harm,” New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Executive Director Rebecca Fischer said in a statement.

As he has before, Cuomo said the Senate also should quickly codify Roe vs. Wade — the Supreme Court ruling that established a right to an abortion — into state law and extend and expand a pilot program for speed cameras near New York City schools.

Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif did not directly answer whether Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) would consider reconvening the Senate, but he blasted Cuomo, saying in a statement that “the governor was disengaged and absent from Albany for the last three months of our legislative session, while we were working to complete the people’s business.”

Pointing to actress Cynthia Nixon’s Democratic primary challenge to Cuomo from the left, Reif said, “We know the Governor is frightened of Cynthia Nixon, but his act is getting old.” Nixon has criticized Cuomo as too moderate.

Rep. Gregory Meeks, a Queens Democrat who represents part of western Nassau County, praised Cuomo at the event, calling him “the most progressive governor we’ve had.”

Cuomo ticked off a list of progressive measures he’s helped enact and called New York “the progressive capital of the nation.”

“We’re trying to be the alternative state to Trump’s America,” Cuomo said.

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