After making his rousing State of the State address on January 9, Governor Andrew Cuomo moved quickly to push aggressive gun control legislation through New York’s assembly and senate, resulting in the passage of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act on January 15.
Local Assemblywoman Amy Paulin has long been outspoken in her belief that stricter gun laws should be enacted and she was one of the assembly members who introduced the bill.
“In my tenure of 12 years on the assembly, few days stand out with this level of historic importance,” Paulin told The White Plains Examiner during an interview last week. “New York State now has the toughest gun restriction laws in the nation. It’s an issue that I have made a priority since joining the assembly and Tuesday’s vote was a huge step in what has been a very long process. It’s a fair bill, one that is large in scope and will help make our state safer while still protecting the Second Amendment rights of residents who own and operate guns legally.”
Paulin said the governor should be commended for his swift and decisive action on this matter. “The tragedy in Newtown was a sad and horrific reminder of why the issue of gun control needed to be addressed quickly and decisively. While this bill won’t make everyone happy I’m confident that it will make New York and its residents safer.”
Paulin first began addressing the need for gun control in the 1990s and was often rudely shouted at when she spoke publicly on the subject. Having worked for so long and with such persistence makes last week’s legislation all the more rewarding.
Paulin believes there will be some minor tweaks made to the signed bill, put in as chapter amendments. “These will probably be done this week,” she said.
Having also worked for many years to raise awareness about issues facing women such as domestic violence and human trafficking, Paulin says she looks forward to working with her colleagues to enact legislation in these areas.
“The governor will present his budget next week, so the focus will be there initially,” she said. “The budget will probably take two months to get through, but you never know. We don’t know what’s in the budget yet.”
Paulin feels passage of laws against human trafficking and domestic violence will go through easily. Women’s reproductive freedom, however, is an issue she expects will not be reconciled soon. “I am hopeful and optimistic though,” she acknowledged.
“Human trafficking is something we’d like to think happens outside our country, but it’s a great problem locally,” Paulin explained. Adding that it is way too common for girls aged 12 and 13 years to get caught up in prostitution. “We’d like to think White Plains and Westchester County are untouched, but this is a local problem in the poor urban areas.”
Paulin began working aggressively on this issue in 2007. “I spent a lot of time last fall at the governor’s office petitioning to get legislation considered. I was so gratified when it appeared in the State of the State speech,” she said. “I was literally jumping up and down when it was mentioned. The bill is filed. We will get this done. I have a meeting with the governor’s office this week.”
Assemblywoman Paulin represents NYS District 88 encompassing Scarsdale, Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Bronxville, Pelham, Pelham Manor, New Rochelle and White Plains. Her district office is located at 700 White Plains Road in Scarsdale. Tel: 914-723-1115. To view the contents of the SAFE Act visit http://www.amypaulin.com/press_rel_detl.asp?id=397