Governor Andrew Cuomo; AP Photo
ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said the issue of gun control is "fundamentally a federal matter" because firearms can easily be transported across state lines.
Cuomo, a Democrat, has called for a crackdown on guns following Friday's massacre in a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
While acknowledging New York and other states can take steps to bolster their gun laws, Cuomo said the most "effective, efficient" way to deal with the issue is at the federal level.
"Right now, our laws are some of the toughest in the nations but in some ways it's to no avail because people can buy a gun somewhere else and drive it in," Cuomo said. "So a federal law would make the most dramatic effect."
Cuomo said officials first have to look at better defining assault weapons. New York has a ban on such firearms, but it includes various exemptions and loopholes.
There was a federal ban on assault weapons passed in 1994, but it expired in 2004.
"I think much more needs to be done on 'assault weapons', starting with how do you define an assault weapon," Cuomo said. "That, I think, is going to be the first step."
Cuomo did not mention any other specific state laws he thinks need to be changed, but said his office will soon be unveiling formal proposals.