By Tom Precious
ALBANY --Assembly Democrats just broke from their closed-door conference discussion over a looming gun control package, with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver saying the deal is down to "dotting the I's and crossing the T's.''
Still at issue is when the series of measures will take effect, as well as how to fund capital improvements made by schools to increase security, such as better doors or other capital expenses. Silver said there are drafts of the gun package, but he declined to provide a copy.
The Senate Republicans, who could have the most to lose politically in some conservative upstate districts, were still talking about the gun control package behind closed doors.
Meanwhile, a group of about two dozen union workers from the 196-year-old Remington Arms manufacturing plant in Ilion were camped out on the Capitol's third floor. They say the measure could sharply hit the plant's workforce, which includes about 1,300 unionized employees.
Jamie Rudwall, president of the Local 717 of the United Mineworkers of America union, said he understands, as a father of three children, the desire to protect people from the kinds of violent acts seen at the Connecticut school. "I think what we need to to is look at ways to prevent that kind of stuff versus eliminating the rights of law abiding citizens, because where does that end? Where does that end?'' he said.
***Update 4:18 p.m.: Senator Michael Nozzolio, a Finger Lakes Republican, just emerged from a private meeting of GOP senators underway for three hours now and said he expects a vote tonight on a gun package.