ALBANY, N.Y. – New York sought to combat violence by rushing the nation’s toughest gun control measure into law after the Connecticut school shootings that killed 26 people, but the state is now carving out an exemption to make sure movie and TV producers can stage running gun battles on Manhattan streets.
Movie and TV productions have long been courted by New York and other states with tax breaks in exchange for the jobs and glamour of the industry. Hollywood is also a major campaign fundraising stop for New York politicians.
“We spend a lot of money in the state bringing movie production here, post-production here, so obviously we would want to facilitate that,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who wants to expand the film and TV tax credit.
He said movies and TV may use fake guns that wouldn’t be subject to the new law but the industry wants “certainty.” The revised law would allow them to use real weapons without real ammunition.
The Hollywood exemption is just one of the revisions planned for the state law that was passed in January before the Obama administration and other states offered their legislative responses to the Dec. 14 rampage in Newtown, Conn. Other changes to the New York law would allow police officers to keep their high-capacity handguns and take a loaded gun on school grounds without permission from school officials.
However, the need for a “cleanup” bill also means the fight over the law may not be over after all.
An estimated 10,000 opponents of the new law are expected to descend on Albany today to try to persuade lawmakers to take advantage of an unexpected second shot at the law critics claim is unconstitutional.