BY IVAN PEREIRA

ivan.pereira@am-ny.com

Elected officials from all over New York gathered at City Hall Thursday to call on the federal government to follow the Empire State's lead on gun control.

With the anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting massacre Saturday, several state and city leaders said it was clear that the rest of the country was lagging behind when it came to gun safety.

Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo passed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (NY SAFE) Act just five weeks after the Dec. 14, 2012 Connecticut shooting, which made it harder to sell guns into the wrong hands, Congress failed to pass similar laws this year. As a result, shootings continue to escalate.

"Although it is difficult to think that one year has already passed since the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook, the best way to honor the memory of those we lost is to take action to prevent future senseless violence," Cuomo said in a statement.

Under the NY SAFE Act, background checks for purchasers of ammunition and for private gun sales are mandatory, high magazine clips are prohibited and assault rifles must be registered with the state.

The State Legislators Against Illegal Guns coalition said the law's quick passage in Albany should be an example to other governing bodies.

"New York has the fourth lowest gun rate, due in no small part to our strong gun laws. But we know that reducing gun violence requires action on multiple fronts," the coalition's chair, state Sen. Jeff Klein, said in a statement.