By Joseph Spector
Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday criticized the plan in Congress to bolster gun-control laws in the nation, saying "it's only better than nothing."
U.S. senators announced a deal Wednesday that would expand background checks for gun purchases. States would also have to expand reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
New York lawmakers passed a sweeping gun-control law Jan. 15, the first in the nation after the Newtown, Conn., school shootings last December. The law includes a tougher ban on assault weapons, limiting the number of bullets in a magazine to seven and expanded reporting requirements on gun sales and mental-health checks.
Cuomo, a Democrat, said the congressional proposal doesn't go far enough.
"It's just unbelievable that this Congress is going fundamentally fail to act on a societal surge that the majority of people in this country support," Cuomo said Wednesday on "The Capitol Pressroom," a public radio show based in Albany. "The majority of Americans want reasonable gun control, gun owners also."
Cuomo, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, said Washington is "captive of the extremists."
"In politics we have to be willing to take on the extremists, otherwise we're going to have paralysis -- and that's what we are seeing in Washington," Cuomo continued. "You're seeing a government paralyzed by the extremists."
Cuomo shepherded through the state Legislature a gun-control bill that was passed by Democrats and Republicans, and Cuomo touted the bi-partisan support the measure received.
Cuomo, however, has been criticized for the hasty passage of the bill, which was adopted just hours after it was printed.
Gun-rights groups have held three major protests at the state Capitol since the law was passed, calling on lawmakers to repeal the law.
Last month, Cuomo and legislators agreed to make some minor changes to the law.
New York initially sought to limit the size of magazines sold in New York to seven bullets. Because manufacturers do not make seven-bullet magazines, the law was amended to allow for the sale of 10-bullet magazines but to limit to seven how many bullets can be loaded - except for gun competitions.