Gun Control: WNYC's Full Coverage

Thursday, April 18, 2013

guns (Getty Images/Getty)

The first major gun control bill failed to pass the Senate. Supporters, like President Obama, called it a “shameful day.” Opponents said it was a victory for common-sense.

The New York branch of the NRA has asked a federal judge to block the state’s new gun control measures. The new law, parts of which went into effect on Monday, bans semi-automatic rifles with more than one “military-style” feature and limits the size of ammunition clips and requires mental health professionals to report patients who pose a danger.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is defending the state in the case and says the new law is not unconstitutional.

“New York already had an assault weapons ban. The federal government had an assault weapons ban. Having a modified assault weapons ban is – they may not like it – that doesn’t make it unconstitutional,” Schneiderman said.

'Gun Control is Dying Out'

Schneiderman is also criticizing the Senate’s failure to pass an amendment that would’ve expanded background checks for firearms purchases. He said the defeat once again showed the power of the National Rifle Association.

“After the Newtown massacre, there was some new energy on the side of gun control and gun control advocates. However, that doesn’t make up for 30 years of the other side having out-organized us,” Schneiderman said. 

But Jacob Rieper, the president of legislative and political affairs with the New York affiliate of the NRA – the group moving to stop New York’s gun laws – refutes claims that the NRA bought the vote with campaign contributions.

“Voters value NRA endorsements,” he said. “The NRA represents literally millions of people around the country and that's why they win. People like their endorsements.”

President Barack Obama said gun control debate is not over. Rieper doubts this.

“As an issue, gun control is dying out. I can see a future where it never totally goes away, but it’s just basically politically irrelevant.”

Schneiderman spoke Thursday with WNYC’s Amy Eddings. 

- Stephen Nessen

Bloomberg Says Senate Vote Is 'A Disgrace'

The bill that died in the Senate on Wednesday was the closest Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come to seeing his gun control efforts realized. On Thursday, his frustration over the defeat was evident.

“You’re either in favor of continuing the killing and the tragedies or you’re not,” Bloomberg said.

The gun control package defeat was a big loss for Washington Democrats, but it was also a setback for Bloomberg, who's spent years putting his office and wealth behind just such legislation.

However, aides remain confident they've made progress: five senators from states where Bloomberg-funded ads ran in favor of the legislation switched their vote Wednesday from no to yes.

- Colby Hamilton


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Comments [6]

AL Lawler from MS

Bloomberg and Cuomo just want power! They know if people have wepons they can't be absolute and all powerful. Are maybe they just live in a fantasy land!

Apr. 21 2013 12:48 PM
Henry Bowman

Donald J. Sepanek:

NRA members were never polled. That is a LIE told over and over by Bloomberg. The NRA does not give out member information, so how were they polled? If and I mean IF, the NRA went against the membership's wishes, we would vote out the board. The same exact way we would vote out the Senators that think Americans need to gov't permission to exercise a RIGHT.

Next and more importantly, how are criminals exploiting existing loopholes? Do you mean they are stealing guns? Is theft a loophole?

Apr. 19 2013 04:54 PM
joseph federn from huntington, ny

as a retired nyc corrections officer on RIKERS ISLAND i have supervised thousands of mentally ill and adolescent inmates. the problem with gun control is that it is really law abiding people control. i have witnessed legal aide attorneys plea bargain murder, rape, violent assaults,etc, to time served or less than 1 year in prison. why you ask?? because the state, nyc done not want overcrowded jails and # 2 the cost. it is easier to blame the gun violence on law abiding citizens then it is for the government to admit that they cannot stop violent crime from happening, you can minimize it but nobody can stop 100% of it. bloomberg, cuomo, obama, schumer already know this. prisons cost tens to hundreds of millions to build and staff. it is easier to0 blame us for the problem.

Apr. 19 2013 03:59 AM
Donald J. Sepanek from Bayonne, NJ

The NRA was not protecting the rights of its members (the majority of whom supported background checks) nor were they protecting the rights of legal gun owners - they were protecting the rights of convicted felons to purchase weapons via loopholes in existing gun laws. After all, criminals are customers too and the gun industry likes their money. In addition, when criminals have guns, that only makes it more necessary for law abiding citizens to arm themselves - and the cycle goes on, and the profits roll in.

Apr. 18 2013 08:23 PM

Bloomberg and Cuomo are ignorant and trying to blame legal gun owners for the acts of criminals. We will not allow it! They will be voted out! We will not be disarmed for the day dreams of corrupt politicians!

Apr. 18 2013 06:41 PM
Dennis Griffin

It is foolish to condemn the NRA for using campaign contributions to protect the rights of its members and other legal gun owners.When I believe it was Bloomberg that sank 12 million or so of his own money to further his personal agenda

Apr. 18 2013 05:19 PM

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