1:16 pm Jan. 15, 2013
In a statement on its website denouncing the new package of gun laws passed by New York's State Senate last night, the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association attacked Gov. Andrew Cuomo with an old Eliot Spitzer quote, accused him of trying to upstage the White House, and said the state's new laws constitute the "true assault weapon."
"The Second Amendment and legislative procedure became the sacrificial lamb in New York as Governor Andrew Cuomo's quest for headline-grabbing gun control was rammed through the Senate in the dark of night," the group wrote in its statement. "Anti-gun former Gov. Eliot Spitzer has described Governor Cuomo as 'the dirtiest, nastiest political player out there...,' and that certainly rang true during the wee hours of the morning as they deceptively slipped through their all-out assault on the Second Amendment and the law-abiding citizens in New York."
Cuomo pushed aggressively for the reforms yesterday, the first day of the legislative session, in a move reminiscent of his administration's late-night lobbying for same-sex marriage, which his aides hoped to get passed in time for maximum coverage.
In this case, the N.R.A. accused Cuomo of trying to act before President Obama unveils the recommendations of his task force, which will reportedly start one of the biggest legislative battles in years. (The timing of Obama's announcement was subsequently set for Wednesday.)
"Determined to steal the thunder from an anti-gun White House, Cuomo made passing gun control the first major issue of the 2013 legislative session," the group said. "Cuomo seized the opportunity to exploit tragedy and put his own personal politics ahead of sound public policy."
Cuomo issued a "message of necessity" to bypass the usual waiting period for legislation, a move the N.R.A. called "a rarely-used executive trick."
"Such backroom dealing on constitutional rights is outrageous and disgraceful," the group wrote. "And such an assault in Albany on Second Amendment rights and democracy is the true assault weapon."
The group noted that only senators Greg Ball and Kathy Marchione spoke against the bill, and urged support for the 18 senators who "voted to protect your rights."