WNYT.com

Schumer optimistic Congress will pass federal gun laws

Posted at: 01/17/2013 8:33 PM
Updated at: 01/17/2013 10:51 PM
By: Dan Levy

Even though the gun fight may be over at the state Capitol, the war of words across the nation goes on. That's what lawmakers, state and federal, were saying today in Albany.

Passing gun control legislation here in New York wasn't enough for total efficiency here in New York, and that's why what happens in adjacent states and in Washington is so vital to gun control proponents.

Even though the sweeping gun control legislation approved Tuesday by the New York legislature should substantially strengthen the state's gun control laws, it's not perfect and much more still needs to be done, according to freshman Albany Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy.

"It was such a big step in the right direction. Now I only hope that federally they can do more," said Fahy.

"It's better to have New York's laws then not, whether the federal government does something or not," U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said.

Schumer, in Albany today, who authored the Brady Bill and the assault weapons ban in 1994, says for New York's gun laws to be truly effective and for state residents to be safer, the Congress now has to come through.

"Let's face it, 85 percent of gun crimes come from outside of the state. So if you don't do something federally, we're still going to have the problem," said Schumer.

Roughly halfway between the state Capitol and Syracuse lies the village of Ilion where Remington Arms has been manufacturing assault rifles for many decades. It's a company that employees more than 1,000 workers. Many of those workers attended a town hall meeting in central New York this week and then headed to Albany to continue their lobbying efforts, concerned about the uncertainty of long range gun manufacturing at Remington, even though Schumer remains optimistic.

"They can make another kind of gun there and assault weapons, which they do make, the vast majority of people who buy them are the military. That's where they belong," the senator said.

Schumer says he's optimistic that Congress will be able to find middle ground and pass tougher federal gun laws. For that to happen, he says, those on the left have to acknowledge that there is a second amendment right to bear arms. Those on the right need to acknowledge that amendments are not absolute, that they need to be tweaked or adjusted in order to form a more perfect union.