Update from the New York Rifle and Pistol Association
Assembly Speaker Silver, County Executive Spano, Westchester County Assembly Delegation Urge Governor, State Senate, Congress to Protect New Yorkers from Gun Violence
Lawmakers, Anti Gun Violence Advocates Urge Action On Measures Banning Cop-Killer Bullets, Prohibiting Violent Felons From Carrying Guns
Calling gun safety a "critical public safety concern that cannot be brushed aside," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano stood together at a morning news conference to call for immediate legislative action on strong, new gun laws that would better protect New Yorkers from the type of gun violence that has taken the lives of some 7,000 New Yorkers since 1999.
The lawmakers were joined at the Westchester County Office Building in White Plains by members of the Assembly Majority Westchester delegation and sponsors of the Assembly's gun safety legislative package. Also supporting Silver's call for action were New Yorkers Against Gun Violence (NYAGV) and The Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence United With the Million Mom March..
Pointing to the tougher laws enacted last December when the Assembly, Senate and governor agreed on legislation to increase penalties dramatically against those who seek to harm police officers and engage in illegal gun trafficking, Silver called on the governor and the Senate to end their unquestioning allegiance to pro-gun groups at the expense of common-sense gun safety legislation.
"Last month - after the murders of two of New York's City's finest - a great hue and cry was raised for state action to improve the protections we afford to our brave men and women in law enforcement. Almost two weeks has passed since the Assembly passed a nine-bill, wide-ranging package of bills designed to strengthen protections for law enforcement officers and to implement common-sense requirements for tracking guns, which few responsible gun owners could oppose. Yet, the Senate has failed to act. Today, we stand in Westchester County where Andy Spano has shown incredible courage and conviction in implementing important anti-gun violence measures," said Silver (D-Manhattan).
"I thank Speaker Silver for being here today to promote gun safety legislation that will protect our families, our children and members of the law enforcement community," said Spano. "Many of these measures - safe gun storage, revoking gun permits of domestic violence perpetrators and ballistic tracing of weapons - are measures we have been doing on the local level. Thanks to the leadership being shown here today, this legislation will provide these protections and others on a statewide level."
County Executive Spano has been a leader in the fight to keep Westchester children and families safe from gun violence. Starting in 1999, Spano banned gun shows at the County Center and in 2000, signed legislation to require safe storage of weapons and create gun-free school zones. That year he also rallied with the Million Moms to lobby for gun control and, in an effort to protect kids as well as police, signed legislation to ban the sale of realistic toy guns. In 2001, he joined Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's nationwide campaign to boycott gun manufacturers who refused to make safer weapons. Along with the District Attorney, he initiated a gun buy-back program and continues to distribute free trigger locks through the County Clerk's Office to new registered gun owners. He began a program to cross check pistol permit holders with orders of protection to seize weapons from perpetrators of domestic violence.
Praising Spano's "bold steps" to protect Westchester County residents from gun violence, Silver called the failure of the governor and the Senate to act "a tragic mistake with tremendous implications for the public safety of all New Yorkers."
"Although we closed the front door on gun trafficking last month, the NRA is ensuring that the back door to illegal guns remains open in Albany. The Senate continues to allow the influence of the NRA and other related gun-lobbying groups to cloud their vision to the point where they oppose closing the loophole that enables convicted, violent felons to carry a gun. That is an indefensible loophole that must be closed. The Senate must slam that back door now," said Silver.
Describing the package as a much-needed continuation of anti-gun actions taken in last month's extraordinary session, Silver said the 9-bill package now before the Senate is a clear expression of the Assembly Majority's ongoing commitment to a comprehensive approach that combines stiff penalties with measures that keep guns out of criminal hands - before they have the chance to destroy lives.
Jackie Kuhls, executive director, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence said, "We are pleased with the Assembly's comprehensive, common-sense approach to gun-violence prevention. By ensuring we use technology to target law enforcement resources where they will be most effective, and by holding gun dealers accountable for their inventories, we can keep illegal guns off the streets of New York."
"It's time for the Senate and the governor to get on board with the Assembly's common-sense approach to gun violence prevention. We applaud Speaker Silver's efforts that seek to shut down gun traffickers before their actions lead to the senseless loss of lives," said Chad M. Ramsey, field director, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence United with the Million Mom March.
Banning Armor Piercing Ammunition (A.2837 /Koon)
This measure, sponsored by Assemblyman David Koon seeks to rid New York streets of deadly armor piercing ammunition and ammunition that is designed to fragment or explode upon impact. Silver noted that more than 140 police and sheriff departments around the state have signed a resolution in support of the assault weapon ban and the armor piercing ammunition ban.
"We owe our law-enforcement officers the highest level of protection against lethal ammunition and this legislation will do just that. With more than 140 police and sheriff departments supporting this common-sense measure, now is the time for the Senate to pass these bills and further protect those who protect us," said Koon (D/I-Perinton).
Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Violent Felons (A.1170 /Dinowitz)
Another bill would eliminate a loophole that allows a convicted violent felon to obtain a firearms license and possess a gun after being granted a legal waiver. The measure is sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx).
Current law allows a convicted violent felon to possess a rifle or shotgun lawfully after being issued a "certificate of good conduct." It would also prevent violent felons who are issued a certificate of relief from disabilities or certificate of good conduct from obtaining a firearms license.
This bill narrows the relief afforded by these waivers to prevent convicted violent felons from obtaining a firearms license. It also criminalizes the possession of a rifle or shotgun by a convicted violent felon.
"Once again the Assembly is taking the lead in passing tough gun laws to protect our law enforcement officials and all New Yorkers. It is important that this package of bills is being passed on the first day of the legislative session. I strongly urge the state Senate and the governor to finally join us in passing these sensible bills that will save many lives," said Dinowitz.
Domestic Violence (A.2404 /O'Donnell)
Sponsored by Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell (D-Manhattan), this measure seeks to protect victims of domestic violence by requiring criminal or family court judges to inquire about the existence and location of firearms owned or possessed by a defendant when an order of protection is sought. Expressing concern for victims of domestic violence, Silver said that while current law allows for the discretionary or mandatory revocation or suspension of firearms licenses upon the issuance of orders of protection, it does not require the court to inquire about the location of those weapons.
"This bill will help reduce the risk of gun violence in domestic violence cases. Studies have shown that in states with laws restraining abusers from possessing firearms, intimate partner homicide rates steadily decreased," said O'Donnell.
Cracking Down on Illegal Street Gun Trafficking (A.9280 /Paulin)
Noting that one percent of gun dealers account for more than half of the legal guns that make their way into the illegal market, Silver said it was important to enact a comprehensive program to stop illegal guns from falling into the hands of criminals through commercial gun dealers. To that end, this bill not only takes aim at illegal trafficking but also imposes penalties on legal gun dealers guilty of dumping guns into the illegal market.
The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale), requires stringent recordkeeping and reporting to prevent gun sales to criminals. Additionally, under terms of the legislation, gun dealers must implement a security plan, require employee training and prohibit minor's access to guns. Silver noted the gun-trafficking bill was submitted by state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
"We have a duty to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and by passing this common-sense measure today - we are moving one step closer to protecting all New Yorkers from gun violence," said Paulin.
Tracking Guns Involved In Crimes (A.2213 /Koon)
Another bill included in the package would require law enforcement personnel to submit ballistic information to the new State Police Ballistic Identification Databank whenever spent bullets, shell casings or guns come into their possession.
"This bill adds to the amount of information in the state's ballistic identification databank giving law enforcement the tools to track down gun-toting criminals and protect our families. Expanding the databank will allow police officers to use valuable ballistic information to link guns from various crime scenes and stop violent criminals," said Koon.
The Children's Weapon Accident Prevention Act (A.673-A /Weisenberg)
This legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach), seeks to protect children from accidental shootings. Five new categories of crime would be created under the bill's provisions for negligent storage of a weapon. Gun retailers would be required to alert consumers about the new weapons storage requirements. The state Education Department would develop a weapons safety program to teach children how to prevent weapon accidents.
"No responsible gun owner should object to my legislation, when we know that approximately one third of all gun-related deaths involving children could have been prevented by simply locking up guns and ammunition. The Assembly has overwhelmingly approved this life saving measure for the past 13 years. I fervently hope that this is the year my colleagues in the Senate, as well as the governor, finally join with us to end these needless tragedies. Its enactment is long overdue," said Weisenberg.
Childproofing Firearms (A.2302 /Englebright)
This bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-East Setauket), would seek to reduce child-related shootings, particularly those tragedies of children shooting children. This bill would make it a Class A misdemeanor to sell guns without childproof features. Covered under provisions of the bill are pistols or revolvers manufactured 12 or more months after the effective date of the bill. Design features could include making the weapon more difficult to fire by adjusting the trigger resistance of the gun to at least a 10-pound pull, altering the firing mechanism so that an average five-year-old child's hand would be too small to operate the gun or to require a series of multiple motions in order to fire the gun.
"It's important to take every precaution to protect our children from the accidental discharge of a firearm. By requiring simple gun design changes that afford such protection we hope to eventually eliminate the all too frequent tragic gun accidents," said Englebright.
Stopping Assault Weapons (A.2466-A /Lavelle)
This legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman John Lavelle (D-Staten Island), would ban assault weapons. Seeking to address the void when President Bush and Congress allowed the federal assault weapon ban to expire, the Assembly proposal would expand the definition of assault weapon to prohibit more of these deadly guns in New York - including guns that have been modified to work like assault weapons.
"Much to the delight of the radical gun lobby, President Bush and Republicans in Congress allowed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban to expire in 2004. If we are committed to keeping our communities safe, we must rid our streets of these deadly firearms that are specifically designed to kill humans more efficiently and serve absolutely no purpose in civil society," said Lavelle.
Banning 50-Caliber Weapons (A.4471 /Eddington)
Another proposal, sponsored by Assemblywoman Patricia Eddington (WF/D/I-Medford) would ban 50-caliber sniper weapons, which can be used to disable commercial aircraft and helicopters and are powerful enough to penetrate steel plating. These dangerous weapons, which are used extensively by the United States military, are accurate from over one mile away. They continue to be available for purchase in New York by anyone who can buy a rifle. A report from the nationally-renowned Violence Policy Center found that these weapons have been purchased by the Al Qaeda terrorist network and used by other domestic and international terrorist organizations. Silver noted the Assembly had sought to include a ban on these weapons in a comprehensive state anti-terrorism law passed two years ago, but the proposal was rejected by the Senate and the governor each time. Silver called attention to California's recent enactment of legislation banning these weapons and called on New York to do the same.
"The thought of a 50-caliber weapon in a terrorist's hands is chilling. With deadly accuracy, it can destroy a target from over a mile away," said Eddington. "These are weapons of war that have no place on our streets. As a weapon of choice for terrorists, they are a threat we must proactively fight to prevent a major tragedy."
Federal Action Needed
Highlighting the devastating impact of out-of-state illegal gun trafficking on New York State, Silver noted that 92 percent of the illegal handguns recovered in New York City came from beyond the state's borders.
"We urgently need a new federal law to require police departments around the nation to submit ballistics information to the ATF's national tracing database so that more violent crimes can be solved," Silver said. "We must also repeal a recent federal law which prohibits information from gun tracing databases to be used to solve violent crimes."
Last month the Assembly passed a legislative resolution calling on Congress to give law-enforcement officers the laws and resources needed to pursue gun traffickers and investigate the sources of all illegal guns.
"New York's gun laws will only go so far to curb gun violence so long as the patchwork of state laws across our nation continues to create loopholes that allow vast quantities of weapons to be purchased legally and transported elsewhere," said Silver.
Just the usual assortment of anti-gun douche bags grandstanding before the cameras spouting their outright lies and half-truths.
True but more people are starting to believe them.
There is NO ONE from ANY groups standing up in front of cameras and defending gun rights.
I am tried of going to all these News Groups and reading the whining between everyone...Myself included. We all know what the deal is but there is no one telling the public everyday like the Anti's do.
Where is the NRA
I mean telling us to send letters, call or e-mail is great, but why don't all the groups get together and do some media stuff. Someone needs to get our point out there. I would like to see her www.annabenson.net/ do some stuff for us.
I DO NOT MEAN BECAUSE OF HER LOOKS. Read the letters she wrote to the Anti gunners and Mike Moore. Her husband & Her have done much for the FDNY-EMS-NYPD. We need a real speaker who could stand up to the A-Holes spouting their crap.
If those proposed bills become law, you New Yorkers are surely fucked. I'm afraid it will only be a matter of time (very soon I fear) before that huge tide of "anti" crosses the Hudson and scales the Palisades, especially now that Komrade Korzine is at work in Trenton, along with his new law-breaking AG.
i have yet to see the NRA do squat in NY....they take your money, but spend it elsewhere.... never have i seen a commercial ad, or a radio broadcast...or even a post in the paper.... they have to be active in fighting this stuff...
Where are the +1,000,000 licensed pistol holders in NY? If the new AWB gets enacted into law it will ban many competition type pistols as well as other competition/hunting rifles in NY. They aren't members of the NRA, SCOPE or the NYSRPA. They seem to be oblivious to the anti-gun agenda of their county and state politicians who they helped elect.
Not according to every active anti-gun group in NY. According to them the NRA is the only things that stands in their way of banning every gun in NY.
i havnt seen anything, heard anything or read anything...why arnt they more "in your face" like the anti's...maybe itd work out better.
we still have the AW ban, i havnt seen anyone move against it and try to get it repealed... if it did, i would party like its 1999.
1,000,000 + licensed pistol owners? Where did that stat come from?
It should have read 1,000,000+ licensed pistols (not owners) in NY. I'll try and get an accurate number of licenses on file by county if possible.
maybe we should write Mrs. Bennson. She seems like the type of public figure who would go to bat for us if we asked...
I'm going to write her.