Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks at a news conference at...

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks at a news conference at the governor's office in Manhattan. (April 9, 2013) Credit: Charles Eckert

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Wednesday called the congressional gun control compromise "better than nothing" and blamed "extremists" in Congress for thwarting tougher legislation.

"We're down to just improving background checks, which as I said is better than nothing, but only better than nothing," the Democratic governor told an Albany radio show.

"And I think it's a damning commentary on this Congress and the extremists in the Congress. I think it points out the intelligence of what we did in New York State and thank God we did," he added.

Cuomo persuaded the legislature to enact the state gun control law one month after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. The law narrows the definition of assault weapons and limits the capacity of gun magazines.

In contrast, Cuomo suggested that Congress has allowed the urgency for strong gun control laws to fade.

"We had a moment there where people were focused on this and they put other things aside, and I think that was the moment the nation had to act and we lost it," he said.

Though the governor said President Barack Obama "recalibrated" his agenda after Congress demonstrated little appetite for it, he noted, "In politics, we have to be willing to take on the extremists. Otherwise we're going to have paralysis and that's what you're seeing in Washington. You're seeing a government paralyzed by the extremists and that's what we've avoided in New York State."

Latest videos