An upstate assemblyman has apologized for remarks he made at a press conference comparing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Jan. 15 gun control legislation to the work of Nazis and fascists.
“Sometimes in the heat of the moment you say things that you regret,” said Republican Steven F. McLaughlin of the Capital District in Albany, in a YouTube video posted Tuesday. “I made an analogy that I should not have made … I called the governor to apologize. He did not deserve that.”
In the latest of a torrent of statements in public discourse by others likening stricter gun control measures to the Nazi era since last month’s school massacre in Newtown, Conn., McLaughlin said “Hitler would be proud. Mussolini would be proud of what we did here. Moscow would be proud.”
McLaughlin and other legislators were upset that Cuomo had used a “message of necessity” to call a vote on the bill without the customary three-day “aging process.” Republicans want a new bill that would tie the governor’s hands in using that tactic.
The Anti-Defamation League said the remarks were “deeply offensive.”
“Whatever one’s opinion about the governor’s actions, the notion that his efforts to promote gun control legislation at the state level are akin to Adolf Hitler’s actions during World War II is historically inaccurate and a trivialization of the Holocaust.”
McLaughlin said in his video that he is “Very passionate about defending my constituents … We have received thousands of calls. People are very upset about the way this bill was handled.”
The gun control measures ban assault weapons, require safer storage of guns, restrict ammunition and gun sales and require therapists and others to report mentally ill people who may use guns. Because it grandfathers in people who already have assault weapons, the governor said he wanted to avoid a run on such rifles by passing the laws quickly.