Ahead of New York lawmakers’ vote to approve a slew of new gun control bills on January 29, Governor Andrew Cuomo held a victory lap media event in Albany. He gathered his allies from Moms Demand Action and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence to forecast the rubberstamping of further Second Amendment civil rights erosion by the State Legislature.

Throughout his media contrivance, Cuomo disrespected the memory of Parkland mass killing victim Scott Beigel by transforming his tragic death into propaganda for ill-conceived legislation that won’t avoid similar events. He corroded faith in the spirit and efficacy of state public safety laws by inviting Beigel’s mother, Linda Beigel Schulman, to transform a legislative process impacting the constitutional rights of thousands into a vehicle for personal emotional therapy.

But Cuomo didn’t stop there with his premeditated media performance. He made a wholly illogical ‘states’ rights’ argument to justify his continued campaign against New Yorkers’ Second Amendment civil rights.

“I have no doubt that this Supreme Court, which was packed by this president, and was passed by his political litmus test, will do everything they can to strike down gun laws,” Cuomo said. “Now, they’re going to have to trample states’ rights to do that, which is going to put them in a philosophical hypocritical position, right? Because one of the basic planks of the conservative federal doctrine was ‘defer to states’ rights.’”

Cuomo’s claim that President Trump has “packed” the Supreme Court is false. Court packing involves expanding the number of justices from nine to as many as 15 to force favorable decisions on desired policy goals. This is exactly what Cuomo’s self-professed progressive idol, FDR, attempted to do in the 1930’s. Conversely, Trump has simply filled court vacancies to maintain the nine-justice equilibrium established in 1869. He has not packed the Supreme Court.

Cuomo’s ‘states’ rights hypocrisy’ argument is illogical. States’ rights are powers retained by regional governments of a federal union under the provisions of a federal constitution. This concept does not enable New York State to exercise power over constitutional issues, such as the Second Amendment, on which the federal government has clearly demonstrated primacy via the black ink of the U.S. Constitution.

Before making further pronouncements on gun control, Cuomo should attend a high school civics course, assuming such a thing still exists in his state-approved education curriculum.


Steve Felano

2AWNY Civil Rights Advocate