Governor Andrew Cuomo toured Western New York, delivering versions of his State of the State and budget addresses. He was also hammered with questions about gun control. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman reports.
WESTERN NEW YORK -- With the halls of the state Capitol largely empty and most state lawmakers back home for an extended mid-winter break this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo hit the road Thursday to Western New York, making stops in Buffalo and Rochester. While Cuomo usually faces enthusiastic crowds, he is still peppered with questions on his gun control law, with exchanges like this one in Buffalo on whether he plans any changes to the measure.
Cuomo did eventually answer that question, saying that technical changes to the gun control law are on the way. Some lawmakers, mostly Republicans opposed to the measure, have said the law failed to exempt police and former law enforcement.
“In terms of tweaking the law, anyone who read the newspaper and follows the news knows that's what we've been talking about since day one. A lot of these laws have a chapter amendment for afterwards and I would expect technical corrections on this bill,” Cuomo said.
As he has done each year, Cuomo has been traveling the state to tout his legislative agenda, giving a truncated version of his State of the State Address. The governor views it as a chance to leave the echo chamber that is the state Capitol in Albany and sell his policies directly to people. Still, the gun control law that passed more than a month ago still remains a hot topic. After the Buffalo event Thursday, reporters grilled him on the gun law in Rochester.
“I am a gun owner. This is not about taking someone's gun. I am a gun owner. This is not about taking someone's gun. This is about common sense controls to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill and criminals. That's what this is about,” Cuomo said.
It wasn't all gun control, of course. Cuomo also defended his plan to reform local Industrial Development Agencies and empower the state on job creation.
Cuomo said, “I'm not interested in using tax dollars to move the same job around town or move the same job from town to town and that's what we want to stop. That's a waste of taxpayer dollars.”
The added benefit of the Cuomo road show is that while lawmakers are out of town and not making news, he has more control over the news of the day.