ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo ripped Congress and the White House for their inaction on gun-control measures, touting New York's SAFE Act as a "sensible" policy that should serve as a model for action.
At a news conference Tuesday in Manhattan, Cuomo -- a Democrat who has long backed strong gun-control measures -- was asked about the Las Vegas mass shooting that left at least 58 dead this week.
Cuomo responded by criticizing President Donald Trump and the White House for saying it wasn't the right time to talk about gun-control policy while accusing Congress of displaying a cowardly fear of the National Rifle Association.
"When is enough, enough?" Cuomo said. "Sandy Hook was the time to talk about it. Columbine was the time to talk about it. Fort Hood was the time to talk about it."
He continued: "Of course it's the time to talk about it."
Cuomo and state lawmakers approved the SAFE Act during a late-night session in January 2013, a few weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
The slate of gun-control measures included a stricter ban on assault-style firearms, prohibiting the sale of semi-automatic guns with a single "military-style" feature such as a bayonet, collapsable stock or pistol grip.
The SAFE Act continues to affect Cuomo's popularity in certain areas of the state, particularly upstate, where lawn signs calling for the repeal of the gun-control law remain a frequent sight. He won re-election in 2014, but lost outside of New York City.
Cuomo said he "paid the price" for his pushing the law, but said a fear of NRA advocates shouldn't be a deterrent to enacting tougher gun-control measures.
"I believe when they write the history books they're going to say, 'New York got it right," Cuomo said.
"And the Congress, there was overwhelming cowardice, and apathy, not to take on the issue because of political reprisal, in the face of total common sense."
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