In the wake of Thursday morning’s shooting on a community college campus in Oregon, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is once again calling for federal action on gun control.
In an interview on Friday with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Cuomo said lack of political courage coupled with apathy by the American people is what is stifling a national gun policy.
“I am amazed that the American people must have lost so much faith in the system that you can watch every few weeks basically the same horrendous scene replay on the screen and they haven't spurred to action. I believe it’s the American people's belief that Washington is so grid-locked and so dysfunctional that there's no purpose,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo said elected officials are afraid of the issue. He noted that passing New York’s gun laws after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut brought down his popularity ratings. Cuomo said he is “fine with it” because he believes the law saves lives.
Cuomo also wants to see the gun control issue used as leverage in the world of politics.
“I’d like to see the Democrats threaten shutdown over this issue the way the conservatives say, ‘If I don't get a tax cut I’m going to shut down the government,’” Cuomo said. “Let the Democrats say, ‘I’m going to shut down the government if we don't get a gun control law.’ Make this election a referendum on gun control from the presidential to every congressional race.”
As the 2015 elections draw near, and the race to become the next president continues to ramp up, Cuomo wants to see politicians in the running take on gun control. He said it’s a difficult issue, but one of the most pressing nationally.
“We talk about hair styles. We talk about every kind of irrelevant issue. This is the issue,” said Cuomo. “I would nail down every candidate's position and make from the presidential all of the way down, ‘What will you do when you get to Washington on this issue?’”
Cuomo said if he were president, he would not hold back on advocacy for federal gun control laws. He said he would drive the issue through the campaign season and use whatever powers of executive action that the president has.
“He can drive his agenda and put his bill out there and make every Democrat in Congress who is running state their position on that bill and I would run this election as a referendum on guns because I believe the American people get it,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo said a gun control agenda would lose as much as 35 percent of popular support. He said it’s not about winning over everyone, but rather doing what’s right for the country.