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Shift in power could lead to tighter gun rules in New York

ALBANY, NY (WRGB) New York State lawmakers will be back to work in Albany next week. Tuesday night, in his inauguration speech, Governor Cuomo made it clear that gun control will be one of his priorities.

In 2018, with a Republican majority in the New York State Senate and Democratic majority in the New York State Assembly, there wasn't much common ground on that issue. With Democrats controlling both chambers in 2019, that could change.

“I am incredibly encouraged that we will have a strong working partner in the Senate,” said Democratic Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, from Albany.

Assemblymember Fahy said that gun control legislation is one of her top priorities this year.

“I agree with the Governor, I don't think we can be vigilant enough on gun control,” she said.

Rebecca Fischer is the Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. She told CBS6 News over the phone that she is also hopeful that some of the legislation her organization has been advocating for will become reality. That includes a safe storage law, legislation to extend the waiting period on background checks and an extreme risk protection order, or red flag, law.

“This is an area, and a gap that New York State really needs to fill to save lives in our communities. It's a bill that would empower law enforcement, family members, household members and even potentially school officials to file for an extreme risk protection order in court,” said Fischer.

Craig Serafini owns Upstate Guns and Ammo in Schenectady. “My customers are definitely very politically aware. They have been watching the different things that are happening and it gives them grave concern as it does myself,” he said.

He told CBS6 News that he feels New York's laws are already stringent, and doesn't think the legislation being considered will work.

“I think again we are going to spend more money on policy, legislation, laws that will not increase the safety of the citizens of New York State,” he said.

With the shift of power he is concerned that his voice, and the voices of his customers, won't be heard.

“It should be something that's discussed so that the people of the state are equally reflected,” said Serafini.

CBS6 News shared his concern with Assemblymember Fahy. She said that she thinks the right balance can be found.

“Because of the violence that we have experienced in this country and in this state we need to make sure that we are regulating, that we are registering, and that we are doing our due diligence, while respecting the due process rights of gun owners,” said Assemblymember Fahy.

Serafini said that he is also concerned about proposed legislation that would require gun owners to have liability insurance.

Assemblymember Fahy said that she thinks there is some merit to that proposal, comparing it to insurance a driver would need on the road.

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