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NY leaders react to Newtown shooting, call for gun measures

Governor Andrew Cuomo is pledging to work for gun control in the wake of the shooting at the elementary school in Newtown Connecticut, calling it “yet another senseless and horrific act of violence involving guns.”

Cuomo says it’s time to “once and for all crack down on the guns that have cost the lives of far too many innocent Americans.”

The governor says he hopes the terrible tragedy can “finally be the wake-up call for aggressive action,” and says he pledges his full support in that effort.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says it’s time for a serious discussion of the  country’s “culture of violence.”

State Senator Jeff Klein, the head of the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference, which is part of the newly formed governing coalition in the Senate, also spoke out about the need for further gun control.

Klein said we must “continue to reevaluate the place of guns in our state and our society.”

State Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, who is also part of the new Senate governing coalition, did not mention gun control in his reaction, but did say “there simply aren’t words that can express the sadness and shock of the senseless tragedy.”

The president of the state’s largest teachers union, New York United Teachers, Richard Iannuzzi says more steps need to be taken to ensure that schools are safe, including “a serious tightening of gun control laws across the nation.”

And New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg tweeted: “President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress.”

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.