Cuomo: I’m Worried About Assault Weapons Coming Across Border, Not Illegals

‘I’m worried about assault weapons coming across my border’

MATTHEWS: “I'm joined now by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who last month lost a top economic staffer to gun violence. New York State passed tough gun safety laws in 2013, one month after the Sandy Hook massacre. Governor, it’s great to have you on the show. I know you care a lot about this issue. What does it take? Tragedy after tragedy? And even that doesn't seem to work.”

CUOMO: “You know, listening to your setup, Chris, it really is amazing how long we've been grappling with this issue. And by the way, it's only gotten worse during that time. It hasn't gotten any better. Society has gotten more violent. The weapons, the guns, assault weapons have become more capable. And it is -- it's seemingly every few weeks, now, you know, and it's distressing. You mentioned the situation that we had here in New York. Forty-three years old, a black man who grew up in the projects in the Bronx, Chris, you would never think that he had a shot at making it, he brought himself to Harvard University. After Harvard University, he came to work for the State Government. He could have made $1 million in a law firm. He wanted to give back. I mean he was a beautiful, beautiful human being. And just shot down in random gang violence. He was with his brother, the two of them bend down behind a car when they hear the gunshots. One brother gets up, the other brother doesn't. I'm amazed, frankly, that the American people have been as quiet in their response as they are. Either they're getting numb, which I hope isn't the case, or they've just given up on Washington, and the Federal Government. You know, in a relationship, when you stop yelling, Chris, that's when you're really in trouble, because you've given up. And I think that's the state they're at. Because I passed what is probably the toughest gun law in the nation. I can't protect my state. Because I closed the front door and the guns are coming in the back door. I'm in New York. If you drive to Virginia, you drive to South Carolina; you can come back with a gun. So, the states can't do this. It has to be the Federal Government. They're arguing about the border down south with the Mexicans. I'm not worried about the Mexicans coming across my border. I'm worried about assault weapons coming across my border. And that's what the Federal Government and the ATF should be focused on.”

MATTHEWS: “What do you make of the resistance by the NRA and their supporters to any kind of background checks? It seems like way back win, I used to say, guns don't kill people, people do, so why don't they keep the wrong people from getting the guns?”

CUOMO: “I think it's a slippery slope argument, right? And I went through this as you said, when we passed the gun bill here in New York. Their position is now no conversation, no common sense, no cooperation, slippery slope, government is trying to take the weapons, because they want to disempower the citizenry. I mean, it is absurd. That's why there is a common sense approach here. There really is. But the NRA has taken a position, a zealot's position, they've attracted a zealot crowd, frankly. And I think they've actually galvanized the opposition. But, you know, we both have been around long enough, at one point, Chris, you have to say, I'm going to do it anyway. I understand why litigations want to stay away from this issue. I understand that it's going to cost you political points. It cost me political capital in this state, there 30 percent, 40 percent of the population that is just against it. But you have to have a political system that acts and acts on the tough ones. And this is a tough one, but this is not going to change unless you get people to talk, common sense, busted gridlock, and you have politicians who actually stand up.”

MATTHEWS: “It's great to have you on, Governor Cuomo. I'll see you at the Al Smith Dinner, as always, you're a great man to have on the program. Thank you, sir.”

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