ALBANY, N.Y., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was close to working out one of the country's toughest bans on assault weapons and could announce a deal Wednesday, WCBS-TV reported.
The plan, which the station described as a dramatic response to gun violence, would include tough new restrictions on assault weapons, stiffer penalties for using a gun to commit a crime and lower limits on the number of bullets in a gun magazine, which is the ammunition storage and feeding device, the station reported.
Cuomo also proposed more expansive use of mental health records in background checks of gun buyers and a new requirement that gun permits be subject to periodic recertification, The New York Times reported.
Cuomo, a Democrat, was feverishly negotiating the bill with lawmakers of both parties, WCBS said, and hoped to announce the deal in his State of the State address before the state Legislature at 1:30 p.m.
Cuomo, a shotgun owner, has long spoken in favor of tougher gun control but only began pressing the point after the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six adult staff members and wounded two others.
He said he wanted to come up with a package that could be used as a model in other statehouses, the Times said.
"I think what the nation is saying now after Connecticut, what people in New York are saying, is, 'Do something please,'" Cuomo told reporters after a Cabinet meeting Dec. 18.
"They look to government to respond to a crisis," he said. "They look to government to respond with leadership. And I think what they're saying is put the politics aside and stop the argument, stop the debate, and pass a bill that makes progress even if it's not a perfect bill."
New York's existing assault-weapons ban was approved in the months after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado that left 12 students and a teacher dead. The teenage gunmen -- two high school seniors -- injured 21 other students before committing suicide.
In 2000 New York Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, pushed through the Legislature new gun laws that included a measure to outlaw assault weapons.
But many high-powered rifles now available are exempt from the ban. Advocacy groups blame manufacturers for altering their products to get around the law, the Times said.