It's widely believed that Cuomo does have presidential aspirations, possibly in 2016.
The NRA added a veiled threat to lawmakers who might pass similar gun-control legislation: "The NRA and our New York members remain committed to having a meaningful conversation about protecting our children and will speak frankly about the lawmakers who have failed to do so."
As to whether the legislation was rushed through -- it passed on only the second day of the 2013 legislative session -- Cuomo said it sent a "message of necessity.
"As soon as people found out that I was proposing a specific law that was going to ban the sale of assault weapons, we were afraid that would actually cause a rush on the market of people who wanted to buy assault weapons," Cuomo said at a news conference after the signing. "If we had made that announcement and then waited for three days we believe you would have seen an unprecedented period possibly of people buying assault weapons before the law was passed just to get in under the wire, if you will. That would have been the exact opposite of what we were trying to achieve."
As the governor did during his State of the State address last week, he said the new measures were "not about outlawing guns," adding he owned a Remington shotgun himself.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has spoken out on the issue of gun control since the Newtown, Conn., shootings and founded the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, put out a statement after the signing in which he praised Cuomo and the New York Legislature, saying they "have shown that it's possible to act quickly – and in a bipartisan fashion – to enact gun laws that will make our communities safer.
"The responsible and comprehensive gun reform bills the governor signed into law today will help keep guns away from criminals and others who are already prohibited from purchasing them," Bloomberg said in the statement. "The bills will also strengthen the state's tough but sensible restrictions against military-style weapons and high capacity magazines. The bipartisan cooperation that produced these bills sets an example for Washington to follow, and it makes clear that the Senate's new majority coalition is capable of working with the Assembly and delivering results for New York state."