ALBANY - A Democratic effort to force a state Senate vote on a series of gun-control measures was blocked Wednesday by Republicans who control the chamber.
Senate Democrats tried Wednesday to attach amendments to a separate bill on the floor in an attempt to make the chamber vote on a bump stock ban, bolstering background checks and legislation allowing judges to remove guns from those found to be a danger to themselves or others.
But the Senate's Republican majority voted to block the amendment, ruling it wasn't germane to the organ-donation bill that was up for a vote.
“The madness must stop," said Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers. "We need to get serious about gun safety and we need to take real action.”
The Senate Democrats' maneuvering came two weeks after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which has spurred a nationwide conversation on gun-control and school-safety measures.
The often-used, rarely successful tactic was what's known as a "hostile amendment," which allows any lawmaker to try to alter a bill on the spot when it comes to a vote on the floor.
The Senate's temporary president — a Republican — then rules whether the amendment is germane, or plausibly related to, the bill. If the president rules against it, a senator can try to appeal the decision, which takes 32 votes to overturn.
In Wednesday's case, Senate Democrats tried to attach their gun-control measures to a bill allowing hunters to register as organ donors when they apply for a license.
The Senate president ruled it wasn't germane, and there were only 29 votes to overturn the decision — three short of what was required.
Prior to the vote, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, R-Suffolk County, said Republicans have been discussing "a comprehensive school safety plan" that could come to the floor for a vote as early as next week.
He suggested the package — which would also need approval from the Democrat-led Assembly and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo — could include more money for security cameras, armed officers as schools and better emergency-response plans.
"Schools must be safe havens, where students can learn and teachers can teach," Flanagan said in a statement. "In New York, they will be."