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New York Daily News - Newt Takes Aim At State, Local Gun Laws

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A House Republican push to roll back federal gun control laws appears to target state and local laws as well including New York's tough restrictions on firearms.

The bill, drawn up by Speaker Newt Gingrich's handpicked gun law task force, would affirm the right of people to use firearms within a home for self-defense purposes so long as they are not prohibited from possessing the weapons under less stringent federal rules.

And if state and local governments say otherwise, the bill would let would-be gun owners sue in federal court to enforce that right a prospect that has alarmed the Giuliani administration.

"We're taking a look at it to see what impact it's going to have on all our gun control laws," said Colleen Roche, a mayoral spokesman. Criminal Justice Coordinator Katherine Lapp and the city law department also were looking at the constitutionality of the bill whether it goes too far legally in encroaching on local and state powers.

Rep. Charles Schumer (D-Brooklyn), a leading gun control advocate, charged the Republican leadership with "going along with the most extreme of the gun nuts." The bill would also repeal last year's hard-won ban on some assault weapons. Schumer said if the attack on state and local laws stays in the bill, "it makes it easier to defeat because it's so extreme."
The bill's chief sponsors, Reps. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) and Bill McCollum (R-Fla.), were away for the congressional recess and unavailable for comment, their aides said.

Their summary of the bill says it "restores to citizens the ability to defend themselves from violent crime by reaffirming their right to use firearms in their homes for self-defense."

Action by the crime subcommittee and the full Judiciary Committee is due next month.

Under current law, New York residents must go through a rigorous licensing procedure to demonstrate a need for a handgun permit. Strict requirements also apply to keeping hunting rifles or shotguns.

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