Anagnostakis backs gun bills blocked by Senate GOP

Orange County Legislator Mike Anagnostakis took aim this week at the Senate Republican conference that he hopes to join for “shamefully” blocking Democratic-sponsored, gun-safety bills that he said he supports.

Among the proposals was a bill that would allow judges to issue “extreme risk protection orders” to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed to be a threat to others or themselves. The Assembly passed it, 115-20, in March, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo later led a public campaign to pressure Senate Republicans into bringing a vote on a similar bill before the legislative session ended on June 20. That effort, which┬áincluded a press conference by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul at Ellenville High School on June 13, was unsuccessful.

Anagnostakis, one of two Republicans running for the 39th Senate District seat, also said he would vote for stalled bills that would allow a 10-day waiting period for background checks on prospective gun buyers; ban bump stocks, the gadgets that turn semiautomatic rifles into fully automatic ones; and create a research institute to study the causes of gun violence and explore solutions. None were taken up this year by the GOP-led Senate.

“The Senate in Albany has failed the people again,” Anagnostakis said. “It borders on criminal that smart, reasonable, safety legislation that helps prevent dangerous individuals from accessing guns has not been enacted.”

A spokesman for Stony Point Councilman Tom Basile, a fellow Republican who’s also running for the Senate seat Bill Larkin is vacating, dismissed the bills as “political statements” that weaken gun-ownership rights, without addressing specific proposals. “Tom does not support eroding our Second Amendment rights with proposals that are designed to be political statements rather than actions that address the range of factors that contribute to violence in our society,” the spokesman, Bob Driscoll, said.

Driscoll said Basile supports speeding the release of state funding to expand school security, and offering additional state money to place retired cops in schools.

“As the father of three young children, Tom Basile knows the importance of keeping our kids safe,” Driscoll said. “He has consistently maintained that the state needs to be providing schools with greater resources to improve safety and harden their facilities.”

Assemblyman James Skoufis, the Woodbury Democrat running for the 39th Senate District seat, said in response that he voted for both the 10-day waiting period and extreme risk protections orders, and gave a floor speech on that latter bill that he said convinced some Republicans to switch their votes to “yes.”

“I support the Second Amendment,” Skoufis said. “I’m also motivated to do everything possible to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. The fact of the matter is extremists like Tom Basile have hijacked this debate. There is a way to respect the constitutional rights of gun-owners while doing all that we can to protect our community, particularly school children.”

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    Chris McKenna

    Chris McKenna covers Orange County government and politics for the Times Herald-Record. He has been a reporter at the newspaper since 1999. Read Full
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