cuomogunsA day after a lawyer in his administration died following a gun-shot wound to the head, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated his call for stricter federal gun control laws.

“This is not any Second Amendment fight, it’s not for the soul of the country,” Cuomo said. “That’s a lot of baloney. Nobody’s trying to take anybody’s gun. I am a gun owner. I have been a gun owner. I’m not anti-gun. I’m anti-gun for mentally ill people. I’m anti-gun for criminals.”

Cuomo, speaking with reporters in New York City earlier in the day on Thursday, said it was sadly ironic that the lawyer, Carey Gabay, helped craft the SAFE Act, the January 2013 package of gun control laws that the governor counts as a milestone achievement for his administration.

“Carey Gabay made sure we had the best law in the nation,” Cuomo said. “It didn’t save his life, because it’s not enough.”

Cuomo called on federal elected officials to summon the “guts and courage” to pass strict laws on the national level because of the guns that have flooded into New York from other states.

“The federal officials in my opinion are afraid of the political downside,” he said.

And he acknowledged he took a hit in popularity for the SAFE Act, passed in the wake of an elementary school shooting in Connecticut. The measure has angered gun-rights supporters and Republicans, especially upstate, and Cuomo’s popularity there has struggled to rebound.

“I paid the price. When I passed the law in New York, the people who were against any gun control got very, very angry at me and the don’t like me and they don’t vote for me,” Cuomo said. “I understand that. But, I was elected to do the right thing. The right thing is this nation needs a federal gun control policy.”