New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made the case for nationwide gun control legislation after a former aide, Carey Gabay, was shot while attending the West Indiana American Day Carnival parade on Monday.
Gabay was struck by what officials have said was a stray bullet during a shooting in Brooklyn and is now in critical condition. The 43-year-old lawyer was previously one of Cuomo’s assistant counsels, and now serves as the First Deputy Counsel at Empire State Development. Governor Cuomo met with reporters on Tuesday and called opponents of gun control “delusional.” Cuomo further argued that despite New York’s already strict gun control laws, firearms are still entering the state from neighbors with more relaxed regulations, necessitating the need for a national policy.
“This tragic shooting—this one by another seemingly random bullet—is the latest heartbreaking reminder that the crime of gun violence must stop,” Cuomo stated in a press release. “Enough young, innocent people have died, and it must stop now.”
Cuomo cemented his reputation as being tough on guns when he fast-tracked the passage of New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act in 2013, a gun control law that some have called the strictest in the country. The law was the first of several as state legislatures tightened gun laws shortly after the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The SAFE Act still remains a highly controversial law and the subject of multiple lawsuits, but Cuomo and his supporters are encouraging other lawmakers to take up similar steps.
“This nation has to have the political courage to step up and the elected officials have to have the political courage to step up and say this weekly ongoing tragedy of loss of life of innocent victims, schoolchildren, young girls, young boys must stop,” Cuomo told CNN. “The only way to deal with this is a national gun policy.”
Cuomo also supported a more comprehensive background check system.
“You have to check everyone before they buy the gun. And that is the rub. People who are law-abiding citizens say ‘Don’t bother me. Don’t check me. Only check the criminal.’ But you can’t check the criminal unless you check everyone,” he told reporters.
Police are still looking for the gunmen who fired between eight and 10 rounds in what is believed to be a gang dispute on Monday. The shootout occurred just hours before the West Indian American Day parade, a celebration of Caribbean culture. The New York Times reported that Gabay was caught in the crossfire and was shot in the head, requiring emergency surgery when he arrived in a hospital. Officers have recovered one gun and believe others were used in the shooting.
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