By Tom Precious
ALBANY – Senate Republicans just broke from nearly four hours of private talks over a gun control package – a vote many upstate GOP lawmakers do no want to have to take.
“It’s tough to tell. It looks like [there will] be a vote tonight, but it’s tough to tell,’’ said Sen. Michael Nozzolio, a Finger Lakes Republican and one of the few GOP senators who did not use a back entrance to the Senate chamber to avoid having to talk to reporters.
“We don’t know. The bill’s not done yet," said Sen. Thomas Libous, a Binghamton Republican.
But other sources say Senate Republicans have voiced a number of concerns, including the precise definition of an assault weapon. Also, some lawmakers want to vote for certain components of the bill – such as expanding an existing mandatory outpatient treatment law for mentally ill people. That has led to requests by some Senate Republicans that the gun bill be broken up into several components so GOP lawmakers can vote no on expanding gun restrictions – a political killer in many conservative upstate districts – and yes on the mental health portion and other provisions to increase penalties for crimes committed with illegal guns.