Cuomo: Delayed SAFE Act database a work in progress

ALBANY Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he won't rush for the completion of a stalled database for background checks on ammunition sales that was part of New York's controversial gun-control law in 2013.

Cuomo championed the SAFE Act that was passed by the state Legislature in the wake of the Newtown, Conn.. school shootings in December 2012, and a provision of the law would require gun dealers to run a background check on anyone buying ammunition in New York.

But State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico testified at a budget hearing last month that the database remains a work in progress, and Cuomo said it needs to be done right before it launches.

"We had allocated money to create the database," Cuomo told reporters Wednesday in Rochester. "The State Police are working on it, but it also has to be right. I'd rather they do it right than they rush it and waste money and come up with bad information."​

D'Amico has given no indication when the database would be complete.

Other provisions of the law, which have been fought in court by gun-rights groups, are in place. The state has created an expanded database of all gun owners and registered the dealers, and State Police this year are creating a pilot program to allow some gun owners in the Albany area to re-register their weapons early. The re-registration requirement will be every five years, starting in 2018.

Still, the SAFE Act remain controversial, and legislators have introduced a number of bills to either repeal it or make changes to the law. Cuomo has indicated no plans to modify the gun law.

On Monday, Assembly Democrat Anthony Brindisi of Utica became a majority-party sponsor of legislation to make changes to the SAFE Act. In the Republican-led Senate, the measures are sponsored by Sen. James Seward, R–Milford, Otsego County.

One of the bills would drop plans for the ammunition database and use the money for it to help hire school resource officers. The state budget in 2013 included $27.7 million to implement the law and another $3.2 million for additional computer work.

Another one of the lawmakers' bills would be to repeal one of the most controversial parts of the law—requiring no more than seven bullets in a gun, down from 10—after the measure was struck down in federal court.

"Over the past two years, I've received numerous letters and phone calls from constituents who are responsible gun owners, and who have some very valid objections to some of the most burdensome aspects of this law," Brindisi said in a statement.


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