Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a series of radio interviews Monday morning called for Democrats to unify around a package of gun control measures in the wake of twin mass shootings that have rocked the country over the weekend.
Cuomo urged Democratic leaders in Congress, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to hammer out a gun control bill that can be adopted by the more than 20 Democrats running for the party’s presidential nomination.
“This is a social disease that is spreading,” Cuomo said of gun violence in an interview on WAMC. “These are mothers and fathers who are afraid to send their child to school. God forbid there is another Sandy Hook madman out there. And no one is doing anything. It’s all lip service.”
In an interview on 1010 WINS, Cuomo challenged President Donald Trump to go further and approve gun control measures through executive order — a move that is unlikely and certain to be challenged in court.
“He’s very good at doing executive orders,” Cuomo said. “Let him sign an executive order that says I declare an emergency in the United States of America because innocents are getting gunned down, and here’s my policy—ban assault weapons, ban high capacity magazines, universal background checks, red flag laws. Let him sign that if he’s sincere.”
Trump in a White House address earlier in the day backed efforts to combat mental illness as well as a red flag measure meant to keep guns away from people who are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. New York lawmakers and Cuomo approved earlier this year a similar red flag law.
Trump condemned racism, an apparent motivation for the shooter in El Paso who killed 20 people. Cuomo said Trump’s condemnation, however, was “one of the great acts of hypocrisy.”
“This president has made hate and racism his stock and trade,” he said. “His political tactic is divide and conquer.”
Schumer, along with Rep. Joe Morelle, called for a special session of Congress to take up gun control legislation.
In a statement, Morelle said “we are not powerless” to stop the next mass shooting.
“We can save thousands of innocent lives by passing universal background checks on all gun sales, banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines like those used in this weekend’s attacks, and implementing red-flag laws,” Morelle said.
“My colleagues and I in the House have already taken action on many of these measures – but inexplicably, the Senate has abdicated their role to protect the American people and failed to join us.”
Cuomo in the WMAC interview said Democrats should run on the issue of gun control nationally. He pointed to his own experience with the SAFE Act, a package of gun control measures approved in 2013 following the shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut.
“Six years later, we were right,” he said.