Gun reforms mulled at state Capitol

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ALBANY – After two horrific mass shootings that rattled the nation, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone at the state Capitol who doesn’t understand the urgent timing of gun reform legislation that is being considered by lawmakers, nor is it difficult to find anyone who isn’t willing to share their thoughts on the logic or perceived effectiveness of that legislation.

"The right to bear arms is to be able to protect yourself. That’s why this country is strong and free," states Assemblyman Chris Tague (R – Schoharie).

Tague says he’s been a gun owner most of his life. That his legislative colleagues are about to prohibit New Yorkers under the age of 18 from purchasing an assault weapon is something that bothers him.

"When I was 18 years old, I was responsible to have a firearm," Tague said. "To say that every 18-year-old in the state of New York or across the country isn’t mature or responsible enough to own a handgun or to own a shotgun or a rifle, I think that’s a ridiculous statement."

Tague reiterates folks need AR-15s at home to protect themselves, their families, and their property, although he sees no reason for people to be walking the streets with them.

Other bills under consideration include: banning body armor for the general public; instituting microstamping which would create a "fingerprint" on bullets and tightening red flag laws requiring law enforcement to seize weapons from dangerous individuals.

"I think they will be effective," said Assemblyman John McDonald (D – Cohoes). "But the truth of the matter is, when people have violence in their hearts, they’re going to commit violent acts, and that is something that no bill can control directly."

Tague believe mass shootings aren’t so much a gun issue as they are a mental health issue.

"Yes, mental health is an issue," Assemblywoman Pat Fahy (D – Albany) acknowledged. "But we need a multipronged attack. No other country comes even close to us with guns."

"We call them common sense gun reform because they are common sense," says Assemblyman John McDonald (D – Cohoes).

The entire package of gun reform is expected to pass both houses of the New York State Legislature, and Gov. Hochul is expected to sign it into law.