” In large stretches of upstate New York, it is the reason Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is deeply unpopular. To many voters in New York City and its suburbs, it is one of his crowning achievements.
Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, made New York the first state to pass a broad package of new gun laws after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. Seizing a singular political moment, he called it the Safe Act, and he implored Congress to follow his lead.
Nearly two years later, as he seeks a second term, Mr. Cuomo presents the act to his supporters as one of his greatest successes, and Democrats are assailing the governor’s Republican challenger, Rob Astorino, for being lax on guns. It remains one of the most far-reaching pieces of gun-control legislation passed in response to the Newtown shooting.
But in pushing for passage of strict new gun laws, Mr. Cuomo alienated a vocal constituency across upstate New York, a region he has otherwise wooed. In court, gun owners have challenged the constitutionality of the laws; on lawn signs and bumper stickers in places like the Catskills and western New York, they demand their repeal.
Counties, towns and villages have passed resolutions denouncing the laws, and some counties have even demanded that their official seals not be used on any paperwork relating to them. In response to an open records request, the governor’s office shared hundreds of pages of such resolutions, from far-flung places like the Adirondack town of North Hudson, with 238 residents, to more populous areas like Erie County.
“ The calculation when it was passed was people were going to get mad for a little while and then get over it,” Stephen J. Aldstadt, the president of the Shooters Committee on Political Education, said. “I don’t think people are getting over it.” Despite its scope, the Safe Act was not everything it was originally intended to be, and there were stumbles. A provision limiting the size of gun magazines, for example, turned out to be unworkable.
Thirty-two days after the shooting in Newtown, on Jan. 15, 2013, Mr. Cuomo signed the act into law. The measure included an expanded ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as a broader requirement for background checks, and tougher penalties for gun crimes.”