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Aide to Cuomo got waiver after violating state gun law

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An aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo received a waiver to carry a concealed firearm after having regularly violated state law banning guns from public buildings since being appointed more than two years ago.

The aide, Jerome M. Hauer, is head of the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Cuomo, an advocate of strict gun control, appointed Hauer to his post in 2011.

According to the Albany Times Union, Bauer used the laser site from his 9mm Glock handgun as a pointer during a meeting with a Swedish delegation, which reportedly startled some of them.

But the paper said witnesses reported Bauer as being armed for months prior to that incident. Also, witnesses said Bauer took out his weapon during a meeting with a Swedish delegation in October during a meeting at the state emergency services center, located in a bunker beneath the State Police headquarters in Albany.

New York has strict gun control laws which prohibit the carrying of a concealed weapon by anyone other than law enforcement personnel, especially inside of government buildings. The Albany Times reported that Bauer is not a law enforcement official, though his vehicle is equipped with emergency lights and sirens.

Reports said Bauer’s waiver, which arrived just four days after the laser pointer incident, was signed by Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito, one of only two state officials who are authorized to issue such waivers, on Jan. 10. The only other New York state official authorized to do so is State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico; the Times reported that one person familiar with the story said D’Amico refused to issue Bauer a waiver.

At a news conference Wednesday, Cuomo defended the waiver for Bauer. He said he is comfortable with commissioners carrying concealed weapons to work as long as they have permits to do so.

Cuomo, a Democrat, was the first governor to sign new restrictive gun control legislation in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings in December 2012. At the time, Cuomo called those who disagreed with the tough new laws “extremists.”

Included in the measure was a requirement to implement statewide gun registration and uniform licensing standards. Also, the new law restricted the number of bullets in magazines to seven instead of 10.