ALBANY — The Democrat-led state Assembly is set to approve a series of gun-control bills Tuesday, including banning so-called “bump stocks” and requiring a longer waiting period for purchases. But there’s no indication the measures will gain passage in the Republican-led Senate, which, a day earlier, passed a series of school security measures that excluded gun controls.
The result is the two houses appear, for now, at a stalemate on legislation proposed in the wake of the latest school shooting massacre in Parkland, Florida.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), at a news conference, said “thoughts and prayers are not enough” to halt the steady stream of mass shootings in the United States. While he acknowledged state laws can only do so much, he said state lawmakers cannot sit by and wait for federal action.
“We won’t wait for another mass shooting,” Heastie said.
The house leader said the Senate Republican legislative package — which included a bill to place an armed guard in every New York City school — was a move in the “wrong direction.”
“The point we’re trying to make is that more guns on top of students is not the answer,” Heastie said.
“Bump stocks” are illegal to use in New York, but legal to possess, sell and transport, legislators said. It’s the device Stephen Paddock, the shooter in the Las Vegas massacre, used to kill 58 and wound 800 in a matter of minutes. The sponsor of the ban bill, Assemb. Patricia Fahy (D-Albany), noted that machine guns were outlawed decades ago and said lawmakers should do the same with bump stocks.
The Assembly approved the ban, 112-0.
The other Democratic bills would ban a person who has been deemed an “extreme risk protection order” by a court or a person who has been convicted of domestic violence from purchasing a firearm. All of them were approved overwhelmingly, with most Republicans in support.
“These were common sense bills,” said Assemb. Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue).
Meanwhile, breaking with some Republican colleagues, a Long Island senator called for a ban on the sale and possession of “bump stocks.”
Sen. Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill) also called for tougher background checks on would-be firearm purchasers and a ban on gun ownership by “people who present an imminent threat to themselves and others.”
Phillips, a first-term senator in a politically split district, said state lawmakers must act in the wake of the most recent school shooting massacre in Parkland, Florida.
“This is a seminal moment in our nation’s history and we must come together to act,” Phillips said in a statement, noting she is a mother of three daughters.
Democrats on Tuesday said Phillips should have joined them a day earlier or the week prior when they tried to force a vote on bump stocks.
“Senator Phillips voted against all these bills twice in the last week. To issue a statement after the fact saying you support these Democratic gun laws is the definition of cowardice,” Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy said in an email.