Posted at: 01/16/2013 10:41 AM
Updated at: 01/16/2013 7:28 PM
By: Ray Levato
One day after he signed the toughest gun law in the nation, Governor Cuomo came to Rochester to honor the memory of the two West Webster firefighters killed Christmas Eve with an assault weapon.
The state's new law has been controversial. The news about Governor Cuomo coming to Rochester for a ceremonial signing of the new gun law wasn't widely publicized. But word got out, and a handful of second amendment protesters gathered outside city hall.
Bob Meyer carried a large American flag, and another one that said "Don't Tread on Me."
Bob Meyer said, “My 2nd Amendment rights are being violated.”
He said the new law hamstrings people's ability to protect their homes and property from intruders.
Meyer said, “Criminals won't respect this law. Criminals don't respect any law.”
David Luther said he felt it was important to stand for his principles.
David Luther said, “The government seems intent on restricting our rights, but doing their job like maybe passing a balanced budget or things like that just never happens.”
In response to that, A Governor’s spokesman pointed out that every year the Governor has been in office he has passed on time balanced budgets with no new taxes, fees or borrowing gimmicks.
Governor Cuomo was due at 11:00 a.m. He arrived a little late and was ushered in through a back entrance to a waiting crowd that packed City Hall atrium. The Governor spoke about how the law recognizes sacrifices of the two West Webster firefighters who were killed by an assault rifle Christmas eve, and two others who were wounded.
Gov. Cuomo said, “And what's called the Webster provision, which is we protect our first responders. Common sense, protect the first responders. Protect your first responders.”
After, he was surrounded by local leaders for a ceremonial signing of the law that was passed Tuesday and then he took questions.
News10NBC asked about the issue raised by the protesters that this law infringes on the rights of legal gun owners.
Ray Levato said, “Now Governor Cuomo, how does this law address the scourge of illegal handguns that claim so many lives including in the city of Rochester?
Governor Cuomo said, “The law also increases the criminal penalties on many illegal handguns and the use of illegal handguns and the crimes committed with illegal handguns. So it does that also.”
Levato said, “Governor, how do you address this whole enforcement aspect of it like gun dealers, gun shops that kind of thing?
Cuomo said, “Part of disseminating information about the bill is so local law enforcement and gun dealers, everyone knows the new rules and the new laws because they will be enforced by local law enforcement.
When the Governor left City Hall, people in the crowd stared heckling him but he appeared to shrug it off.
Governor Cuomo says this was the most important thing he's done as an elected official. He says it ranks right up there with bringing sense to the state budget and marriage equality which he said was profoundly important.