“History provides moments where real change is possible. Many of the great social changes occur when the people are ahead of the politicians. The issue of sensible gun regulation provides that moment today. Large private companies like Dick’s and Walmart are ahead of the politicians. Every poll says the public overwhelmingly wants real reform. The people of New York were ahead of the curve when we passed the NY SAFE Act after the Sandy Hook massacre. History has unfortunately proven us right.
“The Republicans are offering incremental reforms to appear responsive. Democrats should define real reform in this moment. States have already led the way. Raising the purchasing age to 21 would have affected just 13 percent of the mass shootings over the past 50 years. Banning bump stocks is only a minor reform when assault weapons are still widely and easily accessible in much of this country.
“Real reform is what we did in New York. Ban assault weapon sales, no loopholes for background checks, a real mental health database, a ‘red flag’ bill to allow law enforcement to investigate claims of people who are mentally ill and should not possess a gun, a properly funded NICS background data base, and a real research effort on gun violence and gun technology like SMART guns.
“The nation cannot allow this moment to pass without meaningful changes that will save lives. This should have been done after Columbine in 1999. It should have been done after Sandy Hook. We will see more innocents die if we don’t act now.
“States are doing all we can in this moment to combat the scourge of gun violence, strengthening our laws and joining together as a coalition to share information, track guns used in crimes, and conduct joint research to inform policy decisions. But without federal action, we are at the whim of the weakest laws in states that have not acted. In fact, the vast majority of guns used in crimes in New York State come from other states.
“As Governor of New York, I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure New York’s laws are as strong as possible. But the federal government’s inaction makes the people of this state less safe, and I do not accept that, and neither should anyone else. You were elected to lead—lead.
“This is part of the pattern of failed federal leadership on the pressing issues of the day—sexual harassment against women, the protection of our elections from foreign hacking, the economic struggles of our middle class, the abandonment of American citizens in Puerto Rico. Democrats must pose real solutions on these issues and hold the Republicans’ feet to the fire. The people demand results, not rhetoric.”