In her standard stump speech, Hillary Rodham Clinton talks about fighting income inequality, celebrating court rulings on gay marriage and health care, and, since the Emanuel AME Church massacre, toughening the nation’s gun laws.
That last component marks an important evolution in presidential politics. For at least the past several decades, Democrats seeking national office have often been timid on the issue of guns for fear of alienating firearms owners. In 2008, after Barack Obama took heat for his gaffe about people who “cling to guns or religion,” he rarely mentioned guns again — neither that year nor in his 2012 reelection campaign.
But in a sign that the political environment on guns has shifted in the wake of recent mass shootings — and of Clinton’s determination to stake out liberal ground in her primary race against insurgent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — Clinton is not only initiating a debate about gun control but also vowing to fight the National Rifle Association.
“I’m going to speak out against the uncontrollable use of guns in our country because I believe we can do better,” Clinton said Tuesday in Iowa City.
Senate Republicans did pass a bill to make a variety of changes to the measure, which was approved in 2013 and championed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
But Assembly Democrats and Cuomo showed no appetite to follow suit, so no revisions will be made.
“Am I disappointed? Absolutely, and I think the gun owners of New York state are going to be disappointed also,” said Thomas King, the president of the state Rifle & Pistol Association.
The lack of action on the SAFE Act will create further friction within the Republican Party: upstate GOP members loathe the law, but Long Island Republicans voted for it in 2013 — including new Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan, R-Suffolk County.
“Flanagan had a chance to unite the Republican Party, but he didn’t,” Assemblyman Bill Nojay, R-Pittsford, Monroe County, a gun-rights advocate, said.
Nojay said Flanagan should have pressed harder in negotiations for SAFE Act changes, saying Flanagan had leverage when it came to New York City Democrats who wanted rent-control laws.
“This is a huge disappointment for the Second Amendment community, and it’s not a good omen for the Republicans in the state Senate,” Nojay said. “They always ask for our support for the past two and a half years. They have failed to deliver on anything.”
Flanagan narrowly beat out Syracuse Sen. John DeFrancisco for the Senate leadership post last month after the resignation of Dean Skelos as leader amid corruption charges. Six upstate senators went with Flanagan over their fellow upstate member, which irked upstate leaders and led Flanagan to pledge to revisit the SAFE Act.
The Republicans who voted for Flanagan behind closed doors were: Cathy Young of the Southern Tier; Michael Nozzolio of the Finger Lakes; Hugh Farley of the Albany area; James Seward of the Mohawk Valley; and William Larkin and John Bonacic of the Catskills.
Stephen Aldstadt, president of the Shooters Committee on Public Education, said talk of primaries against Senate Republicans who backed Flanagan will likely grow after the SAFE Act was left untouched.
“There are a lot of people angry” over the law, Aldstadt said. “They are still as angry as they ever were.”
SOURCE :: Democrat & Chronicle