BUFFALO, N.Y. — From banning the sale of possession of bump stocks to allowing courts to prohibit domestic violence abusers or people deemed extreme risks from purchasing guns, Democrat Sean Ryan said the legislation the Assembly passed this week is commonsense, plain and simple.
"All these measures will help save lives and will help reduce the threat of violence in New York State. We need the New York State Senate Majority to allow these bills to come to a vote on the Senate floor," Ryan said.
In Ryan's heavily Democratic district, he'll likely see strong support for the legislation. But in the rural areas surrounding Buffalo, where it's still commonplace to see signs calling for repeal of the SAFE Act, he acknowledged supporting new gun laws could be difficult for his Senate colleagues.
"I'd be happy to enter into conversations with the state senators. It takes a certain amount of courage to change your mind on some of these pieces of legislation but these were narrowly crafted," he said. "We brought outside experts in."
Ryan said the GOP can't operate in a vacuum in which they won't support any new gun law, regardless of its merit.
"I'm amenable to looking at any thoughtful, commonsense piece of legislation," state Senator Chris Jacobs, R-Buffalo, said. "I will say that New York State has the toughest gun laws in the country so I think that really when we're talking about gun legislation, this needs to be a federal issue."
Jacobs believes his chamber is pushing more impactful legislation specifically addressing concerned students and parents.
"I'm focused on what we can do here," he said. "We really thought the more vulnerability that we have in New York State is in terms of security in the schools and in terms of our law enforcement being able to communicate and talk to one another."
Ryan said the Assembly is open to those conversations, but notes there's nothing in state law preventing a school from hiring a resource officer.
"Locals can make the decisions about how they want to spend the resources on resource officers but they cannot make the decision, the superintendent cannot make a decision whether or not a gun can be taken from somebody who's exhibiting signs of violence," he said.