Governor Andrew Cuomo is promising to expand gun control as part of his re-election campaign. Republican candidate Marc Molinaro is somewhere in the middle — wary of alienating gun rights supporters and trying to sway moderate voters behind the SAFE Act.
As he seeks a third term this year, Cuomo has not just defended his staunch support for gun control, he's pledging to expand the existing law.
“We have mass massacres almost on a weekly basis. These guys sold their soul to the NRA so they won't pass common sense gun control. We did in New York and we're going to expand it even more,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo's signature gun control legislation known as the SAFE Act remains controversial with upstate voters, but the law remains broadly popular statewide, especially in the downstate suburbs. Cuomo has used the gun control issue to knock Republicans.
“They have a different world view of America. They are systemically trying to impose their world view on this country,” said Cuomo.
This week Cuomo's Republican opponent Marc Molinaro compared gun rights to support other civil liberties concerns, such as ending the controversial policing methods like stop-and-frisk.
“I believe in the protection of constitutional rights, whether it's in New York City where some years ago there was a push to end stop and frisk, which was an infringement of civil liberties. There needs to be a respect for the constitutional rights of all New Yorkers,” Molinaro said.
Molinaro is also walking a fine line on the issue: He doesn't want to upset conservative Republican voters who make up the GOP base, or turn off moderates who are supportive of gun control.
“My focus is going to be on restoring the rights of New Yorkers, protecting the civil liberties of all New Yorkers, upstate and downstate, and ensuring that we're investing effectively in making sure our communities are safe,” said Molinaro.
Lawmakers this year agreed to the first gun control law since the SAFE Act's passage in 2013: Banning the possession of guns by people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.